(Photo © J. Maus)
I’m working on a slideshow and a report about last night’s BikeCraft event. It was a thrilling night in many respects for both Elly and I, but I want to share a particularly touching moment.
Back in April 2006, I shared a story about Joe Lontai. Joe was a BikePortland reader serving a tour of duty in Iraq. He sent an email along with a photo of himself on a spinning bike in the Iraqi desert.
He was wearing a battle helmet, an Army-issue bullet-proof vest, and lycra shorts; he was training for the Seattle-to-Portland Classic.
Last night, while in a dizzying swarm of people, Joe extended his hand through the crowd and introduced himself with his beaming smile. I remembered him immediately. He said the story and comments of support really helped him “break the monotony of being in Iraq.”
Joe said his friends serving with him would give him a hard time for riding his training bike so much, and the story helped him explain his bike-loving ways. “It made my month…it made my six months!” he said.
Now Joe (and his fiancee) live in Beaverton and he teaches ROTC at the University of Portland.
Nice to have met you Joe and I look forward to our paths crossing again sometime.