Hitchin’ a Ride

I hitch hiked down to Victoria this weekend to look at sailboats and pick up a friends car for them as a favour.  I used to hitch hike everywhere.  In high-school I figured out that if I hitched to school I could sleep in a half hour later, instead of getting up for the bus.  At the worst, I would show up a little late.  When I went to Malaspina and had a car, I would drive to the highway, park, and hitch in from there because I realized that the same people were commuting at the same time every week and getting rides was easy.  When I lived in Victoria I would hitch up-island to go home for the weekend.  In Japan I would hitch-hike when I had to work in other cities because I could still claim the train expense that they reimbursed us for.  As a conservative rule of thumb, I plan for hitching to take time and a half the length it would take to drive yourself.  So an 1h40min drive from Nanaimo to Victoria should take me about 2h30min.  Yesterday it took about 2h05min to ride my bike to the highway and catch 3 rides to Victoria.  The final driver took me right to where I was going.  The first driver liked fishing and knew a bit about sailing.  The second was a real funny guy who bitched about bad tenants and for some reason thought Calgary was a cool city.  The last ride was a DJ that did multi-level marketing.  He wasn’t too salesy though and, although out of his way, took me to go where I was going.

I’ve never had a really bad experience hitch hiking.  Once a guy turned his stereo up so loud I had to plug my ears.  And another guy picked me up in his RV and told me he taught street kids how to count cards at casinos and asked if I wanted to go to Vegas and learn.  He was weird in the funny way, not the creepy way.  Another guy picked me up when he was loaded and asked me to drive.  He had gotten in a fight with his wife and was going to Edmonton to get a hooker.  He kept saying I was his guardian angel.  One guy picked me up and asked me to drive, while he went for a nap in the bed of his truck.  I had a woman stuff my greasy bike into the leather back seats of her convertible.  I’ve known a couple girls that hitched and had scary situations though – that’s too bad.

I think more people should hitch hike, and more people should pick up hitch hikers.  Unless you’re a single female, its pretty much harmless if you have any reasonably quick character judgement; the biggest risk is bad conversation.  In many places (the British Virgin Islands for example), its a well-accepted way to get around.  Everyone does it and I think it actually strengthens the sense of community.  After all, we’re all going in the same direction.

Hitching a ride

Go on, pick that nice guy up.


One response to this post.

  1. I give this post a thumbs-up!

    Yes, more people should hitch-hike – it’s pretty much died out completely in the UK, and rare in Germany. Shame.


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