In June 2013 I went for a ride in the Lehigh Gorge. During that ride I had a brief meeting with a river rafter. Our conversation underlined that motivation is often a two way street.

I stopped for a moment to let blood get back into my hands. As I stood on the trail I noticed a raft pulling up onto the shore. I walked down from the trail to talk with the rafter about the river. We exchanged greetings, and I asked him about taking a raft on the Lehigh.

Even though the man I was speaking to was tall and fit, he told me rafting wasn’t difficult, and much of the time the Lehigh wasn’t a difficult river for a beginner. I asked about needing specialized gear since he was wearing a wetsuit. No, its helpful but not mandatory.

I was then surprised to get questions on riding the rail trail, and how difficult it was. “I have a friend”, said the rafter, “who I’ve been trying to get riding.” I was asked about trailheads and trail conditions, the type of bike he might need, and specialized clothing. I pointed out that my Lycra was helpful, but not mandatory. He could ride and enjoy the trail without it.

I needed to resume my ride, and the rafter needed to eat his lunch before resuming his trip down the river. We thanked each other, I walked back up to my bike, and I rode off.

I thought about our exchange during the rest of the ride. I hoped the rafter’s friend would take up cycling, and I looked forward to one day rafting on the Lehigh.