How Bikecentennial 76 Helped One Cyclist Grow Up

February 8, 2016

This summer, Dreux DeMack will finish the ride he started in 1976. He will also celebrate the 40th anniversary of Bikecentennial by attending the Montana Bicycle Celebration, July 15–17.

Dreux recently shared with us why he plans to attend the Montana Bicycle Celebration:

Riders on the Golden Spokes Special West stop in Three Sisters, OR for a snack break during Bikecentennial 76. 

The summer of 1976 was a very special time in my life. With college looming in August, I decided that a cycling adventure was the best way to celebrate my high school graduation. When I learned about Bikecentennial, I was immediately thrilled at the idea of riding two wheels over 2,000 miles. I had been a century rider in high school, but the thought of riding in the mountains and meeting new people was the perfect way to segue into college. Bikecentennial turned out to be the adventure of my life and one I will never forget or even try to replicate. How could you do better than ride with total strangers, carry everything you needed for living out on the road for seven weeks on your bike, and knowing you would face new challenges?”

Exploring the Nez Perce Historic Trail near Chinook, Montana.

“The one thing I always recall about Bikecentennial 76 is that it was so well organized and I was so welcomed in every town we pedaled through. It made all the hard riding easier and made the experience for a teenager more valuable. Our group leader was always proactive in resolving any group differences and I credit the staff of Bikecentennial for the training they gave our leader. Most of all, we promoted cycling at a time when riding a bike was just about to become something really important to so many people.”

Hours before departing Astoria, Oregon, members of the Golden Spokes Special West pose for a group shot.

“A crash in central Colorado ended my trek just a few days from the scheduled conclusion. I plan to finish my Bikecentennial trip this summer that would have ended in Pueblo, Colorado. And with each mile I pedal in Colorado, I will relive every one of the 2,085 miles I cycled that wonderful summer in 1976. That is why I put that trip above all others. It was truly how I grew up in a mere seven weeks.”

One of the many bike shops that hosted Bikecentennial riders.

View a list of Montana Bicycle Celebration confirmed attendees — like Dreux — and purchase tickets to the biggest bicycle travel celebration since 1976. Also, check out Dreux’s Facebook page for Bikecentennial 76 participants.

A welcomed route sign in central Oregon during Bikecentennial 76.

Photos by Dreux DeMack.

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MT Bike Celebration

40th ANNIVERSARY HIGHLIGHTS is posted every other Monday by Adventure Cycling’s events and outreach coordinator, Eva Dunn-Froebig. Eva and guests will preview 40th anniversary events and projects and interview Bikecentennial cyclists. Adventure Cycling’s 40th anniversary celebration in 2016 will honor the past and look to the future of bicycle travel. Fill out this form to express your interest in the 40th anniversary. 

 

Comments

Sophie Someone December 2, 2016, 10:17 AM

This is about my dad!!!!!!!!!!!!

Dave Thomson February 11, 2016, 10:32 PM

Great story Dreux! I love the picture of Sisters 40 years ago. The last photo is actually from Eugene, not Central Oregon - I was attending the U of O in 1976 and we would ride out to Armitage Park in the summer.

Dreux February 12, 2016, 9:14 AM

Thank you Dave. I think I recall that now. That was a nice area to ride through, not too many hills at least. Thanks for clarifying.

Brad Fitch February 10, 2016, 7:17 AM

So cool! I enjoyed reading this and think it's so great you will be concluding the ride this year.

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