In one week it will be one year since Mestre Acordeon, Mestra Suelly and the B2B crew left Berkeley, California for Salvador, Bahia. Clean chains reflected the California sun. Way too much gear made their bikes heavy. Muscles screamed, not accustomed to the daily strain. They thought it would be a long journey but they did not know what it meant to be on the road for over a year. Wet behind the ears, yet eyes brimming with hopes and dreams.
Today, 120 km from Recife and 1000 km from Salvador anyone who takes a minute to look – and many can’t help but do - knows the B2B crew carries with them the hardships of a road less traveled. Long distance riders in the Americas stick to the coasts, avoiding the mountains in the center, but B2B had to cross the central mountain ranges of Mexico, Central and South America several times. Try riding up and down two to six thousand meters of steep, badly maintained mountain roads six times in five months and you will know what these road warriors went through. But up there on those high plateaus is where the cities are, where the capoeira is. And this is a capoeira journey.
They slept in strange places - fields, gas stations, ice cream parlors, on roofs, in really cramped quarters and restaurants or fire stations. They rode in any condition that this good green earth can possible throw at them. Their bikes are dirty, handlebar tape thread-bare, gears creak along and replacement tires are worn out. Their bodies are in no better shape than their bikes and any of them can name you at least three areas that are in need of immediate care or at least very long rest.
Yet that light in their eyes shines on. And as they come closer and closer to their goal it is brighter every day. Salvador is not only their Mestre’s and Capoeira’s home land, it is their promised land. It is what they have been striving for, the final and ultimate reason for why they rode 14.000 km and shot terabytes of film. They work long hours, select and edit material, write story lines and perfect sound conditions. They try not to fall asleep after a long day of riding while their Mestre gives untold numbers of workshops to hungry Capoeiristas. And every day they force their weary bones up from hard floors at 5 am to follow him down the road.
The ever present road, shimmering in the heat, carrying pain and gain in equal measure. Out here, their shadows remain their only constant companion. And as they ride further away from the equator those shadows grow longer and longer, and they suddenly realize that the final moments of this journey of a life time are upon them. Mixed emotions of elation, a sense of accomplishment, gratefulness and gladness for the light at the end of a long tunnel compete for limited space in their toughened hearts. After a year together most everything is limited for them. Emotional capacity, physical endurance and the desire to move forward are all hanging by a bare thread.
Now their Mestre’s will power keeps them going, helps them reach their goal and finish what they started. A man, only a few days from his 71st birthday, himself suffering from nightly leg cramps and constant back pain, braving various other physical, emotional and spiritual hardships, carries this ragtag group of capoeira cyclists on his tough shoulders through the final month of an epic journey. It could only end this way.