Total Miles: 4
Rider: De Herman; Non-Member.
Summary: Cycling across the US with a group of 12 ("The Vultures") was a life-defining experience. In addition to appreciating the vastness, beauty, and wildness of the land I learned about strength, endurance, and human relationships. It taught me a huge lesson about "I can". Plus it was great fun!; Self-Planned
How did ACA Help? Bikecentennial '76 provided excellent trip maps, tour books, leadership, and encouragement.
Motivation: I wanted to see America, especially the Rocky Mountains. I wanted to prove to myself that I could take on such a great physical challenge and complete it.
Most Challenging Aspect:The most challenging physical aspect was climbing the Appalachians--the roads were poorly graded and had little if any shoulders. Psychologically, dealing with headwinds in Kansas was difficult. Group dynamics were challenging, but it helped that we had an excellent leader, Ric Mathes, who set a tone of cooperation and thrift at the outset.
Favorite Experience: One of my favorite experiences was square dancing in Pittsburgh Kansas on July 4, 1976. Our group required special instruction and we stood out in our rag tag biker clothes. Another was my first sighting of the Rocky Mountains, which I first thought were clouds(!) from about 80 miles away.
Least Favorite: I didn't like biking in Eastern Kentucky, sharing the road with coal trucks and unfriendly local folk.
Tips: If you enjoy riding a bike, but can't imagine being able to go such a long distance, think of it as many small rides and go about it in day to day increments. If you can work on your own psychological mindset, you can achieve anything! One of the most inspiring riders was a man who had only one leg. He had a weighted pedal on one side of the bike and only used his other leg. He was one of the most cheerful cyclists I met that summer, and he achieved his goal!
Date Entered: Jun, 2006
Photo by Dennis Coello