Every summer we enjoy the parade of bicycle travelers who drop by our office here in Missoula, Montana. These cyclists come from all over the world. Their variety of style, equipment, route, and purpose is endless.
In 1982, Greg Siple began recording our visitors on film and asking them to tell their stories, creating Adventure Cycling's National Bicycle Touring Portrait Collection. The Open Road Gallery features selections from this collection in Adventure Cyclist magazine and here on our website.
Minnesotan Marty Clish, “a performer, pizza deliverer, and student of health”, and Coloradan Bill Tucker, “gentleman”, teamed up in the summer of 2000 to ride from Seattle, Washington, to Washington, DC. (We should also point out the third individual along for the ride: Mata Huggi, the Teddy bear).
Curtis Johnson was a bicycle courier for Missoula’s Mountain Goat delivery service when he rolled up for a pick-up in the summer of 1997. Though he wasn’t a bike tourist, he was putting in some big miles all the same, and year-round no matter the weather.
Roy Drew did what most people do when they are planning a cross-country bicycle trip — he spent hours selecting a route, deciding what to pack, and searching for a cycling companion. However, looking back on his 2003 trip, he said that those things proved to be more of a logistical problem than the rest of the trip provided. “In hindsight,” Roy said, “I would stress less about what I brought with me, and spend more time relaxing beforehand.”
Fifty-four-year-old Bill Westmacott, came from the United Kingdom to ride the TransAm Trail in 2009. He planned an early start and left Florence, Oregon, early enough to reach Missoula by May 27.
Sean Claughton, of Bend, Oregon, was traveling with eleven other young men who had set out from Portland to cross America west to east in 2008. Like several other members of the group he chose to ride a fixed-gear. He was carrying only the essentials – another expression of his goal of simplicity.
When computer programmer Merle Knotts retired, he decided he was not going to just sit around, not on a couch anyway. Instead, in 2007, he set out from his home in Marietta, Georgia, to cycle to Oak Harbor, Washington and attend his 50-year high school class reunion. Though his wife, Jan, accompanied him driving an RV support vehicle, at 68 years of age some would say that he was being too ambitious. But he did just fine in spite of a 2004 titanium knee replacement. In addition, Merle was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1980, and at one point in his life was unable to walk. He wrote, “My MS has settled into a mostly sensory impairment pattern, leaving me free to get around and do almost anything I want to do. I feel blessed that after nearly 30 years of having the disease it seldom involves my motor skills.”
Daniel Michalak was a 22-year-old musician when he rode from Wilmington, North Carolina to Seattle, Washington in 2006. He was traveling with four other young men.
Zachary Ruttenberg, of Riverwoods, Illinois; Tim Orr, of Redmond, Oregon; and Sean Claughton of Bend Oregon teamed up in the summer of 2006 to cross America on the TransAm Trail.
Jodie Scott of Carson City, Nevada quit her job as a collections agent for Harley-Davidson in 2000 to ride from Astoria, Oregon, to Ocean City, New Jersey. She packed plenty of diversions to fill her spare time: a guitar, juggling balls, a 5–in–1 game set, a hacky-sack and a Frisbee. Apparently she also had self-improvement in mind for when she reached Missoula she claimed, “I can’t juggle or play guitar.”