Last week I was driving in Vero Beach, Florida and passed a cyclist wearing the distinctive Trek Travel jersey. Unfortunately, she was riding in the opposite direction and I didn’t have time to turn around to catch up with her. It would have been fun to learn what trips she had been on. It got me to thinking about all the great experiences I have had with Trek Travel over the years and all the fascinating people I have met. I continue to stay in touch with many of them, even though they are scattered throughout the U.S. and Canada. I have stayed in touch with several of the guides, too, and enjoy seeing their posts and photos from around the globe.

What is it about a Trek Travel bike trip that can form enduring friendships among such a diverse group of strangers? Certainly, the common interest in cycling makes for easy conversation. I think the opportunity to be “in the moment” and clear our minds of daily clutter is the biggest factor. In this connected age, we rarely get the opportunity to unplug our devices and “go off the grid” for awhile. It is amazing how much we see and experience when we do. This shared experience of discovering new places and talking about them over cocktails and dinner can lead to lasting friendships.

During orientation on one of my trips to the Tour de France the guides challenged us to avoid telling the other guests what we did for a living. In France, they said it is considered gauche to ask a new acquaintance, “What do you do?”

There were three benefits to this unusual request. Since we couldn’t talk about work, we were able to forget about it for a few days. Without the crutch of superficial conversation, we got to know each other in more meaningful ways. And it made for an interesting after-dinner contest near the end of our trip when we were challenged to guess each other’s occupations. The school teacher and the owner of a fleet of ships were surprised to find that they had enjoyed riding together. Maybe the real benefit of a Trek Travel bike tour is that you can meet interesting people without the usual filters of age, income, and status.