Forty one years ago.
I packed all my half-clean gear into the tan vinyl panniers on my Peugot bicycle. I slid my feet into my "rat traps" and navigated down the cobblestone streets of Amsterdam. Heading west then south. I had been on the road biking for 3 months and a few weeks. I was 19 and thought I was seasoned bicycler. Perhaps. I knew one thing, it was getting cold and I was heading south. Holland is practically hill free so riding over 100 miles in a day seemed pretty easy....
I sailed along with considerable ease. ..If I didn’t have a tail wind, it sure seemed like it. I was covering long tree lined streches in a few hours. Holland, even then, was a web of bicycle trails used mostly for short distance commuting. I stopped for lunch in an underpass culvert, where I perused an abandoned black and white soft core porn magazine. I ate my usual french bread and cheese accompanied with the cheapest drink available: Coca Cola from a litre bottle that would later function as my canteen.
These were the waning days of my European trip. I had learned quite a bit....
While riding across the Neatherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg, I was stopped by the police 3 times and checked for illegal substances, or what ever caught their fancy. I was drug free, yet I had heard of unkowing “mules’. My shoulder length hair and basic disheveled appearance made me suspect. Rightfully so I guess.
After producing my Passport I was subject to a basic searches, and then let go. I learned that this was not the place for comedy. Serious business. The Münich Games with the attacks had put all European police and agencies on the lookout. My American Passport was my greatest asset.