‘She is finished,’ says Roy. He looks at me with a twinkling of pride. I feel a bit sadness too. ‘I don’t know if I can let her go,’ Roy continues. I try to tell Roy that it’s not necessary for me to take her with me this evening.
I’ve met Roy in Leeuwarden. I sat down with Erwin and Lisa at the Neushoorn in the centre. Erwin had organised what he called an Adventure Night. I would tell stories of my bicycle journey across Europe and Asia. Another couple was invited to tell about riding to France on a Vespro bike. And there was Roy.
We just ordered a beer when Roy popped up. He came floating on his longboard with a cigaret in his hand. I was fascinated. Not by the cigaret but by his long skateboard. What my bicycle was for me was that longboard for Roy. I shakes his hand. I’d never met a longboard adventurer. I was eager to listen to his stories. And Roy was going to tell about it that night.
Two months later I walk upon a street in The Hague. Number 37 was in the message from Roy. I ring a doorbell and wait for a minute when someone opens the door. ‘You know a fellow by the name Roy? Is he living here?’ I ask the doormen. The guy looks at me surprised. ‘No, I don’t know any Roy around here.’ He closes the door and I wait. My phone ring, it is Roy calling. ‘Sorry man, I’m stuck in my room between scaffolding pipes, I need five more minutes,’ he says on the phone. I am flabbergasted. Stuck between scaffolding pipes? What is he doing up there?
At the Adventure Night Roy and I exchanged phone numbers. When I told Roy that I was inspired by his journeys on a longboard, he said that he wanted to help me. And Roy could help me. He skated from the Netherlands to Eastern Europe. He had the right experience and knowledge.
We walk upon stairs to the second floor. Roy just moved from Rotterdam to The Hague. He opens a door of a room full of iron pipes. ‘Don’t pay any attention to the mess around here,’ he mentions. A little later after removing some pipes for a place to sit, I tell Roy about my idea of longboarding in the mountains of Scotland.
From between a large stack of boxes he grabs a bamboo board, two trucks and four wheels. Roy starts to assemble the board and explains everything he is doing. I admire his passion. He explains me about the trucks. How tight I’ve to tighten the bolts. What kind of softness a bushing needs to be. He knows to explain everything in detail. And I’m listening carefully.
Later on we talk about our journeys. We tell each other about the importance of feeling a connection with your conveyance. At one point Roy stops talking for a moment, stares to the board and says: ‘she is finished.’ And I know what Roy means by she. Long distance traveling by non motorised transport comes with a great appreciation for your conveyance. ‘If you’re alone for days and days you start talking to her,’ Roy explains. ‘You got to treat her well and clean her every 150 km.’ I can’t agree more with Roy. Yes, you start to treat your conveyance as a lover. As strong as we can be, as high our goals are, she takes us there.
‘What’s her name?’ I ask Roy.
‘Annie,’ says Roy, ‘her name is Annie.’
I looked at Annie and then to Roy.
‘I hope Annie likes mountains,’ I say with a smile.
‘She does,’ says Roy, ‘she really does.’