Trevor was an apparition. Everybody had heard of him and everybody talked about him. Nobody seemed to have met him. “Have you seen that guy with the crazy cot tent?” one guy asked, “I heard he lives off of squirrels and salmon and huckleberries.” The first time I saw him was actually at Swan Lake. He was talking to Jans and Serki (German couple that gave us fruit) before they came over to chat with us. I didn’t realize who it was at the time, but he struck me as not the average cyclist. Some said he had been cycling through Canada for the last decade. East to west, south to north, round and round in the middle. Mostly on trails with a beat-up old mountain bike tugging a trailer fully loaded with close to one hundred pounds of gear. He pulled into Bonus Lake just as we were going to sleep. In person he was every bit the enigma that preceded him in lore.
If he wasn’t a cycle tourist he would probably be homeless. Greatest hobo engineer the world has ever produced. Took an old deck chair and altered a $15 Coleman tent to fit perfectly on top of it. He even made poles that collapsed with the chair so the tent was always attached and when he opened the chair it all folded out like a children’s popup book. His sleeping bag stayed in it so it took him all of 10 seconds to set up camp.
Son of a bitch took a fishing hat, cut the top off, and sewed the rim to the inside of his cycling helmet to keep the sun off his ears and nose. While everyone else was lathering up with bug spray he was sitting in a little folding chair that he bragged he had pinched from a dumpster with the left over screen that he had cut out of his tent draped over him to keep the bugs away as he read the New York Times. And how the hell was he getting the daily New York Times in the middle of British Columbia where gas stations that didn’t sell any groceries beyond Snickers and Cool Ranch Doritos were still 150 kilometers apart?
In addition to the screen he showed me a fly whip made from foraged wood and discarded bike parts. He carved a stick into a small totem pole about one foot long and three quarters of an inch thick. At the top there was a dragon with an open mouth. He drilled a hole through the mouth and tied an eighteen inch strip of tire tube through it. The cut piece of tube was only about a quarter of an inch wide, but at the end it was closer to an inch and had a slit in it like a snake’s tongue. As he was showing it to me a wasp flew by. Trevor’s eyes locked on it and he jumped into a position resembling a yoga warrior pose and snapped his wrist toward the insect. Poor thing exploded like an alien space craft at the end of a Spielberg flick.
He did not carry bear spray, or a gun. He said that when you see a bear you just have to talk to it softly and sit cross legged wherever you are and they will do the same. He liked to move at night because it was cooler and there was more wildlife. Rather than search for a camping spot, he would set his cot up next to the road in the middle of the day and sleep as semi-trucks and RV’s careened past him.
For Trevor, Canada is the world and the world is a maze of single track and asphalt just waiting to be discovered on a Walmart mountain bike towing rickety old kids trailer filled with garbage. He is one of those people that you look at and think, “This man is doing exactly what he should be doing.”