Small Town Flavor from A Bicycle Trip Across Texas

A veteran NPR reporter saddles up for a 1,100-mile bike trip across Texas, stopping at small, rural towns in between.  

By Joy Diaz & Leah ScarpelliApril 22, 2016 2:18 pm,

Long-time NPR reporter John Burnett has brought the stories of Texas to a much larger audience. But now, he’s getting to know Texas on a bicycle, literally riding from one end of the state to the other. He’s more than halfway done so he stopped by the Standard to share some of his road stories with us.

Burnett, who’s on a charity ride for the Nobelity Project, said they have 330 miles to get to the Sabine River between Texas and Louisiana. He says after putting in seven or eight hours on the road, he goes out with a tape recorder to hear from people in these small rural towns.

“I go out with this little recorder just to see what people are saying in the towns in between the big cities that we don’t hear enough from,” he says.

What you’ll hear in this segment:

– A patron at Angie’s Cafe in Fort Hancock, Texas, about an hour drive outside of El Paso: “We’re kind of all on our own and that’s just fine. That’s who we are. We don’t want any governments coming in here and changing it.”

– A waitress at the Oasis Cafe in Marathon, Texas, gateway to Big Bend country: “Cool, breezy, not a lot of hurrah goes on and very seldom do you hear the sirens going.”

– The charity that Burnett is riding for that helps students in Kenya