Well, hello sir, thank you so much, but no thanks, I am OK, I belt out with a tummy jiggling chuckle, a helpful testosterone filled crowd has gathered around me as I repair a puncture in a traffic pull off area deep within the tropical Malaysian rain forest. There are so many oil stained calloused hands trying to hold the bicycle tube or check that my air pump is fastened securely that I can hardly lift a hand in my own assistance. As I crouch over Pandemic the loaded horizontal magic bicycle amongst the, we just love a good hardware store crowd. My stomach has cramped from laughter, for this is country number 14 in which my estrogen has created yet another helpful bunch of skillful men, all in possession of a PHD in fixing stuff.
The sound of my own laughter, as I press the patch firmly onto the tube, is only muffled by my memories of the familiarity of the extravagant display of helpful pointing, and genuine altruistic heartfelt interest of assisting anyone in perceived need. As I round the world solo by bicycle the cultural similarities of men from around the world is endlessly entertaining.
It’s the estrogen you see, a masterful diva of rendering devotion, distraction, and on-call 24hr road side assistance on a bicycle tour of foreign lands. The estrogen extravaganza, a festival of aid in which the men of the world bolt forward unsolicited with thoughtful assistance and not usually required helpful action. Past worldly events consist of carrying the bicycle up the stairs of hotels, patiently gathering around in celebratory anticipation of assistance when I repair a puncture, offering me clothes right off their backs and on many occasions, taking me into the safety of their home for tea and a rest with the family.
The scholarly men in attendance of the international estrogen extravaganza can smell the wafting scent of a female from across the deserted Gobi desert of Mongolia, through the mountain passes of the Himalayas and in the deep mud of the landslides of northern Loa. The olfactory explosive effect of my fresh from pedaling sweat drenched estrogen can draw a crowd of genuine harmless assistance just about anywhere. Need directions to a safe spot for the tent? The estrogen is on it in a flash. Want some extra hands to carry a loaded bicycle up some stairs? No worries, estrogen’s fearless cloaked cape flies into relentless hot pursuit and without even asking the bicycle floats effortlessly up the stairs. My beautiful ballsy estrogen, the most useful of safety plans and survival tools, that I pack daily in my panniers/bicycle bag as I cycle around the world. A tool that so quickly melts all language barriers that at times I wonder why there is such an exaggerated stereotype of women travelling solo as unsafe especially if they are travelling independently by bicycle.
a historical example of estrogen flying into action
When I began my round the world by bicycle adventure a year and a half ago I would turn down most heartfelt offers of aid. I was determined to be self sufficient and my natural, no thanks, I got it attitude, which got me off the couch into this world solo female adventure to start with, would not accept any genuine offers of assistance. However, as the journey continues it has become clearer then an optometrist with new glasses that the men of the world love estrogen and genuinely want to help. So now a days I just say, thank you, and pat my estrogen on the back for bicycle touring internationally as a solo female may be cloaked with attention but the attention is so drunk on estrogen that all I can do is push that pedal into the next country and say cheers to the men of the world.
(I've written many guest posts and articles, the above article was for alastairhumphreys.com)