A Frugal Cyclist’s Guide to the Universe: An Evening with Willie Weir

Call him cheap, frugal, a tightwad or an initiator of kindness, but Willie Weir knows how to get the most bang for his buck when it comes to traveling the world, whether he’s giving the world’s cheapest engagement ring, protesting an insanely over-priced fish dinner, knocking on doors for free lodging or eating his way to free ice cream.

During his appearance at the Masonic Lodge on March 10 (7 p.m.), Willie will bring to life tales from his latest book, Travels with Willie – tales that will have you laughing and wanting to chuck your day job to hit the road.

Willie Weir is a columnist for Adventure Cyclist magazine, a traveling commentator for public radio station KUOW in Seattle, and an ex-professional actor with a passion for bicycle travel … and ice cream.

An excerpt from The Sacramento Bee:

There was the shepherd in India, the pharmaceutical entrepreneur with a collection of Mercedes-Benzes, the elderly couple in Romania, the upstate New Yorker.

In one trip, on the outskirts of an Indian desert near Jaisalmer, hundreds of people crowded around him and his wife and constant traveling companion, Kat Marriner. It had been nearly a decade since they’d seen white skin, Weir says.

Another time, they were beaten and robbed as they were camping in Albania. Most of the time, however, they are embraced like old relatives.

Marriner observes: “Often it’s people who have very little who are really quick to open their doors.”

Weir attributes the acts of kindness to the couple’s vulnerability. They are traveling by bike in a foreign land, with very little – once spending just $400 on a five-month trip – and sojourning in a tent.

“The bike has a way to let you into people’s lives unlike any other mode of transportation,” explains Weir, who at 48 can’t see himself traveling any other way.

Weir will be speaking Wednesday, March 10th, at 7pm at The Masonic Lodge located at 811 N. Chelan Avenue. Ticket price is $10, advance purchase preferred as seating is limited. Please contact Julie Robinson at 667-1275. The author’s book, Travels with Willie, will also be available for sale at the fundraiser for $15, with a portion of the proceeds donated to the WHS journalism program.

This post was originally published on 3/1/10.

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