Peddling round the world through Refugio
by Kenda Nelson
Aug 12, 2010 | 1702 views | 0 0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Kai Edel peddled through Refugio last Thursday on his way to Guatemala for the Courier World Championships.
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Kai Edel, 34, of Duisburg, Germany, peddled his bicycle from Houston into the parking lot at the Refugio Dairy Queen last Thursday morning for a hot breakfast. His journey actually began in Australia on his second around-the-world visa.

Edel is headed south, to the Cycle Messenger World Championships in Panajachel, Guatemala, and he has until Sept. 3 to get there.

When he reached Houston, he shipped all his camping gear back to a friend’s home in New York.

“There are no campgrounds in Mexico so I’ll be staying in hotels,” he said. “That lightened my load by about 25 or 30 pounds.”

Friends warned him about the drug cartels on the border of Mexico. Undaunted, he says he will travel quickly past the border towns into the interior.

“My friends say that once you get past the border towns, things are not so bad,” he said.

In near perfect English, Kai says New York is one of his favorite places in the world, his second home away from home. He’s has lot to compare with in his travels to somewhere between 25 and 30 countries and four continents.

“I have a lot of good memories and it’s awesome to meet nice people along the way,” Kai said. “It’s nice to travel with nature all around me. That’s really awesome.”

At first glance, it’s difficult not to notice that Kai’s body is covered in tattoos but he says none of his tattoos are aggressive. He prefers tattoos that reflect his spiritual nature – Jesus with a crown of thorns adorns one hand, the Sacred Heart on another, and an Irish cross.

“I started getting the tattoos about 10 years ago,” he said. “It was one of my stages in life. The ideas just come to me through my brain.”

The tattoos are also a great conversation starter.

“I’m anxious to get to Guatemala to visit all my old courier friends, many of whom travel to the world championships each year.

He also joins other couriers for group rides although he is alone this time. Kai says he has only a faint grasp of Spanish but he is undaunted by the unknown.

“People have always been good to me,” he said. “I’ve found if I’m warm and open to them, they will be good to me in return.”

At 34, he is still single and is enjoying his travels. After the championships in Guatemala, he will fly back to New York to bid his friends farewell before returning to Germany. Part of his plan is to settle down, perhaps helping his father in the family business or embarking into another field but for now, he is concentrating on the road ahead.

“I’ll probably be so tired by the time I get there, I won’t be in shape to win but it will be fun,” he says.

With the sun straight up in the sky and temperatures near 100 degrees, Kai rides south down U.S. 77 toward McAllen.
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