Peddling for the People

Grace and Alan's Bike Trip Across North America


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Day 49...June 29th

Posted by xc2009 on June 28, 2009 at 9:21 AM Comments comments (1)

We are on the edge of our know people network. The last two nights have been wonderful here in Stillwater, MN. The plan today is to head due north and put down 50- 60 miles, nothing crazy as we head towards the northern wilderness of this bountiful state where the “green” color of nature dominate the map.


We were treated to the new Transformers movie yester day by Linda and Paul---Thank you thank you thank you. It was pretty good---I think the next flick we will see is Food Inc. Oh the promise of movies.


Our stay in Stillwater has been blessed with wonderful conversation and excellent meals and drinks. We are recharged and reinvigorated. I have really enjoyed hanging out with Linda and Paul’s children---bright, beautiful, and promising.





In a way I’m looking forward to the unknown. We don’t necessarily have “goal points” to reach so it will be more leisurely perhaps….. We will go back to hunting down local libraries to use computers to check emails/update the website/pay cell phone bills etc.. We will need to stop at laundry mats to clean our clothes…. It will be new to me, and exciting.


Before reaching Stillwater, we met two other guys who were cycling West to East on the same route we were. As we shared stories of each others adventures so far, it was comforting and encouraging to know that we were not alone, that these dudes quit their jobs as well to take on this trek across America. They also told us that they had met numerous people along the way, too. They couldn’t have been any older than us, which was the coolest part. I am loving this trip. Although riding through the heat index of over 100*F made me say, “I will never do this again!!!”, the truth is, I can see how this can be addicting. I do feel a sense of freedom, something I had longed for.


Wisconsin was beautiful. Minnesota is beautiful. I can’t wait to see the other states as we ride through them. We are leaving the mid-west, and heading into the west. Here we go!!


Day 42? June 22nd

Posted by xc2009 on June 22, 2009 at 7:20 PM Comments comments (3)

Chicago was awesome. Grace and I had such a great time hanging out with friends, and riding around this mid-west metropolis. I could defiantly live in this city. I wonder what types of Education Ph.D. programs the local institutions offer? Yesterday we woke up early (6:00 am) and rode out to Schaumburg, about 40 miles from downtown. We met up with Jim, Sheri, Matt, and Sam and watched Matt’s baseball game. The rest of the day was spent relaxing, sleeping, eating, and playing games with Jim’s family.

Today, Jim, Grace, and I woke up early again (7:00 am) and rode to Roscoe IL to visit Jim’s parents. We arrived around 1 pm, much sooner than anticipated due to Jim’s pace. We rode 60 + miles in 5 hours, much faster than our typical speed. It was so great not to be riding in the heat and winds of the afternoon. We should structure our day around the sun. When we arrived Sheri was waiting for us, as she had driven out to Roscoe to pick up Jim and take him back to the city for his job this evening.

After the three of us took showers, then the five of us (Jim, Sheri, Mary, Grace and Alan) went out to a local Mexican restaurant. It was so good. Oh yeah, love the Mexican! Grace and I have been spoiled and treated very well by Jim and Sheri. Thank you thank you thank you! Again we are so blessed to know such wonderful people. We are being carried by the immense generosity of others and are humbled.

After lunch Jim and Sheri returned to the city and Grace and I hung out with Mary for a minute before we went to see the Star Trek movie in theaters. It was pretty good. Despite being on a bike, we have done a descent job of keeping up with some parts of pop culture. I really wish that today was the day after tomorrow because then we could have watched Transformers on the big screen—it comes out on the 24th of June.

Tomorrow we will head north-west into Wisconsin and toward the Mississippi. I think we will be on the road before 7 am because the day is expected to be a warm one, with temperatures reaching into the mid 90’s. We will try to slice a day off of our schedule so we can arrive in Stillwater, MI early. If we can accomplish this, we will have a place to say with my Mom’s college roommate, Lisa before she heads out of town.

Here we really go.



Posted by xc2009 on June 20, 2009 at 8:50 AM Comments comments (0)

The skies have finally cleared up and I woke up to the beautiful sunshine streaming through the windows.

My friend texted me to let me know he was on the lakefront for a 5K.  Seeing Cameron and talking to him yesterday about running and all, it really got me thinking about the sport that I once was so dedicated in.  I miss it so much.

I miss getting up in the early hours and heading outside.  I know I am in this adventure right now.  but I can not wait to get back and start up once again....  I did need a break, so maybe this was a good thing.  And coming back into it will not be easy.

But I am looking forward to it.

onward for the day.  just had some cheerios, now we are off to finally enjoy the city in the nice weather!


Check out our photos

Posted by xc2009 on June 19, 2009 at 5:30 PM Comments comments (0)

Day 40? June 19th, 2009

Posted by xc2009 on June 19, 2009 at 4:20 PM Comments comments (0)

Chi town

Chicago IL

June 19, 2009



We are crashing at the oh so amazing,down-town-viewing pad of Mr. Mike McCully's. Our bikes are at ashop-- getting new chains, break pads for grace, and some love for myback tire. We are just taking it easy. Last night we hung out withMicah, Kara, Ryan, and Dana; had a view drinks enjoyed the visuals,and basked in the surreal feelings of our coming together at thatplace and time.



We made the ride from South bend in 1day, crushing at least 100 miles. We left at 6:45 am, fixed a flattire in Gary, IN and caught the lake shore bike path around 71ststreet.



I feel as though we are at a gate tothe great American West. The Mississippi is only a 2 day ride fromhere. We are making up our route as we go; we have that general mapidea to follow, but questions of monuments, and bad lands, andmountains, and national parks are pushing and pulling. The idea ofsnaking along the Mississippi is very appealing. I know it is notlong before we will face the north and west winds. We have morewestern ground, than northern ground to cover. West.






Our first night in Chicago was full ofthunder and lightening. I honestly think it was the craziestthunderstorms I have ever seen. After waking up from a beautifulsleep, we were treated to breakfast by my friend Cameron who alsohappened to be in Chicago this weekend. Alan and I rode our bikes toWishbone and enjoyed the company of a good friend as we again,watched the rain pour down outside our booth window. I was also ableto say a hello to Audrey and Jeremy Borling.



I really miss this city. It was myfirst true home in America. The roads I used to walk, run, bike orcommute on are still friendly to this day.



My back is driving me crazy. Iunfortunately burned my shoulders and back a few days ago, and thesecond degree burns were painful to the touch then. Now as theystart to heal, my urge to scratch my back increases but I mustcontain myself.

Many thanks to Alan's friends, Mike andhis roomie, Joel. The medical attention we were able to get while inSouth bend was much needed. Thank you, thank you.



We have now accomplished about 3 daysof riding 100 miles or more. It is amazing what our bodies can do. I look back on the days we would ride with the Biowheels crowd forthursday night rides. 50 miles back then was tough enough. We havecome a long way.



I am looking forward to seeing Jim andhis family this weekend as well. After we depart from him, our tripwill take a new course. No more cozy homes and beds and showers tobe spoiled with. We will be on our own, against the nature andourselves. I'm actually excited about that.









June 16th 2009

Posted by xc2009 on June 16, 2009 at 12:02 PM Comments comments (0)

Day ? June 16, 2009 We left Cincinnati and headed towards Martinsville IN. Harvey and my mom rode out of the city with us; Peg made it to Colerain, OH and Harvey all the way to the Indiana boarder---thanks for the company. Grace and I rode to Shelbyville IN and ended up getting out first motel room of the trip. This is the fourth time we have paid to stay the night. I can not remember the name of the place, but we owe a grand thanks to Mr. Mike Greer. As we approached Shelbyville, the sky become dark purple, the sun’s light faded, the wind picked up, and the rain poured fourth. We could have camped behind the local Kroger, but decided to check out a motel we had seen when entering the town. The motel’s office was closed, but we meet Mr. Greer, one of the tenants, and he called the owners to come in and open a room for us. This particular motel could be rented weekly for $105, or nightly for $35. Mike Greer, after hearing our story offered to pay for some of our room, part of a meal, and practically force fed us as much beer as we wanted. It was a great night. The next day we rode to Martinsville and hung out with Grace’s friends Becky, Larry, Aaron, Big Larry, Stephanie, Carter, and Linda. Thanks folks. It felt like home. We will be back. After two nights in Martinsville, IN we left and headed north. On June 14th we stayed at a state park just north east of Kokomo, IN. I have some sort of rash or Poison Ivy that I think I picked up here. Darn it. Grace also burned the heck out of her back riding that day. Respect the sun. Yesterday evening we arrived in South Bend IN and are currently hanging out with and being treated very well by Mr. Mike Laubacher and Joel White. We are in the process of deciding if we will travel further north to Michigan or head west to Chicago. It all depends on the possibility and price of transportation (hopefully a boat) from Traverse City to Chicago. Other than our rash and burns we are doing well. Thanks to mom and dad, and entire Cincinnati and Martinsville crews for making us feel so welcome. We are in sweet spot. Alan

Day 30

Posted by xc2009 on June 8, 2009 at 12:06 PM Comments comments (2)

Day 30


We are in a bit of a sweet spot. Since leaving Bemus Pt., NY Grace and I have been blessed with people. We have only had to stay in our tent 2 nights since ending New York State; Tom and Edith in Cleveland, Courtney and Brenden in Akron, Jessica in Mansfield and now my Mother and Father in Cincinnati, Ohio. The trip has been so much richer and easier because of these wonderful people—many many thanks to all of you have helped us make it this far.


It is crazy to think we have biked all the way from the north coast of Maine to the south west corner of Ohio. It is even crazier to think that we are only ¼ of the way through our trip. This “sweet spot” will hopefully continue as we head to Indiana and Illinois---visting even more people before we hit the northern plain states and the west.


Two nights ago, on the eve of the 28th day, Grace and I were fortunate to camp behind St. John’s Lutheran Church in London, OH. We were going to stay at a Madison State Park, but decided to check out the church on the way---it was closer to town, and we were ready to call it day. Two very nice ladies at the church called their pastor, Steve Smithburger and he gave us permission. Thank you very much. We left London and picked up a bike trial that took us all the way to Cincinnati---oh yeah this portion of the ride was excellent---the only traffic we had to worry about was other trail users. We were able to travel at an increased rate of speed, not having to stop for lights or stop signs. The trail was mostly shaded by trees, so we avoided the often draining rays of the sun, and afternoon wind.


As we approached the Nati, my parents and our friend Harvey rode their bikes out to meet us—a grand welcoming to this part of the state.


The night before London we stayed in Mansfield, OH with my college friend Jessica who prepared a wonderful vegetarian lasagna, baked asparagus, and an amazing red wine. We wish Jessica the best as she departs for her next adventure and pursues a Masters in Latin American Studies. Thank you to Jessica and her parents.


So here we are in Cincinnati, OH for the next 3 nights. We have plans to see a few people, run some errands, pay some bills, unpack and repack the things we think we think we need, and hang out with the family. Life is good and we are blessed.


Alan and Grace.

Day 25

Posted by xc2009 on June 4, 2009 at 10:28 AM Comments comments (1)

Day 25.


Thank you so much, Tom and Edith—Grace and I had a great time visiting, it had been too long and the time between our next visits will be much shorter. I enjoyed seeing my old high school friend; our lives have taken different paths—Tom is married, has two beautiful healthy children, a new house, and a job in the city. It was great to talk about the decisions we are all making and the places we are traveling in our lives. I think Tom and I were equally impressed and living vicariously through each other. We are both blessed in so many ways.


Grace and I left the Hess’s house around 10 am after a wonderful breakfast with Edith, Ethan, and Sophie. The two night stay was exactly what we needed after 3 days on the road and the travel from Bemus. We traveled south and then east on state route 82 until we intersected the Cleveland – Akron Tow Path (a recreation path that travels along the old Ohio-Erie Canals). We turned south and enjoyed the lack of traffic, the green scenery, the Cuyahoga River, the sound of the trail, all at a leisurely pace.


Grace was in contact with an old friend David from Japan and we arranged to meet up for a brief meal. There was a miss communication about where we were traveling, but once corrected Grace and I turned around and meet David and Kelly (newly weds of 6 months) for a bowl of rice and tofu. Thank you. David and Kelly are ambassadors in sport. Using soccer, the two work with others to spread the message of chirst. I enjoy our conversation and wish that we had more time to talk.


We left Boston or Boston Heights, returned to the tow path and headed south. It had been raining on and off all day and the combination of the compacted dirt and sand path made for a dirty ride. By the time we arrived in Akron and made our way up a hill to Courtney’s place we were covered in gritty grime. Good gosh, great gadzooks—we tried to clean up, but even today our chains were gasping for a bit of oil and a better clean off, perhaps to night we can better service our equipment.

Bendo, Parul, and Alex met us for dinner at Courtney’s. We had stir fry, a great many beers (of the Great Lakes variety), and some ice cream and apple crisp. I am so happy to see and visit with these friends.


It is day 25, we will be in Akron tonight and then head for Mansfield tomorrow. I think we have traveled over 1000 miles, and have competed 1/5 to a ¼ of the trip. We are in a sweet spot right now, traveling from friendly house to friendly house, enjoying people, good food, and little bits of rest. Down through the great state of Ohio we ride, onward to Cincinnati. It has almost been a month on the road and the days are flying by at a comfortable pace. We enter the mid west with the Nati and Chicago on the horizons. I look forward to these stops and making it past these mile markers. The west stretches out, and the western wind confronts us, the northern plain state wait.



Day 23

Posted by xc2009 on June 2, 2009 at 8:59 AM Comments comments (0)

This is the 23rd day since we left Cincinnati. We have made it back to Ohio and are currently staying to the west of Cleveland with Tom, Edith and their two children Ethan and Sophie Hess.


These last 3 days since we left Bemus Pt, NY have been much easier on our bodies--maybe we are adapting, or maybe we are super rested from the 4 night long stay with my Grand parents, or maybe it is the fact that we did not have to climb mountains all day long, or perhaps the fact that we only rode 60 miles each day??? Yeah for lakes and rivers and flat terrain!


We left Bemus and rode through Erie PA, about 10 miles from the Ohio boarder. As the sun began to set on Saturday, May 30th we found outselves at Uncle John's Camp Ground, which is apparently famous for Steel Headed Bass fishing. So famous that Wendy Tomas (think fast food) and Paula Abdoul, amoung others have been there. After we talked to Uncle John about our travels he offered us a cabin for the night---for only $5. The deal is that I will write a story (or testimony) and email it to him with a few pictures when we get a chance. The cabin was great!


The next day, Sunday, we rode along Lake Erie to Headlands State park, about 30 miles outside of Cleveland. It was beautiful. As the night came on, so did the bugs---and I mean like crazy. They were not hte kind of bugs that attacked you, but the did swam all over the place. You could hear them, humming, a high pitched buzzzzz--Grace almost did not stay there, she wanted to leave. We ended up camping on the beach, just behind a sand dune, amazing sun set.

On the 22nd day we rode to Cleveland and met Tom for a moment before we continued on to his house---another 30 miles on the other side of the city. We will leave tomorrow and head south east to Akron.


Check out the pictures!

Bemus Pt. NY

Posted by xc2009 on May 26, 2009 at 7:08 PM Comments comments (1)

We woke up on the 15th day in a house. Last night in Cuba, NY we were at the market buying some world famous cheese when a local Pastor named John began asking us about the trip. By the end of the conversation we had a place to stay in the local mission house. Thank you thank you thank you John.



Day 14--riding to West Almond, NY, we were pedaling up a hill when this ferocious, vicious, not tied up doggy (most likely a boxer) came tearing after us. This crazed animal bit my saddle bag, but did not have a good enough hold to hang on. The adrenaline alone got us going. Then 2 houses later, another dog came out into the road and tried to bite us. To be honest I wish I had a tazer. Scary.


Today, day 15 was the second time we rode through the rain---and we got wet (most of our stuff stayed dry). The plastic bags covering my feet broke and my outer limbs got wet. Both of our gloves were so wet that we could clench our fists and wring the out….


We arrived in Bemus around 4:30 pm despite taking the I-86 bridge across Chautauqua lake. We rode through Jamestown and realized that we were on the wrong side of the lake. Fortunately, we got a ride across from Dave Champ.

So here we are surrounded by family about to eat some wonderful food.