In our spare time, bicycling is our passion. Paula got a taste of "serious" cycling when we were dating, having been talked into doing two- and three-day self-supported tours around Kentucky and going on RAGBRAI, the week-long ride across Iowa every summer. We knew we were a serious cycling couple when our wedding present to each other was not a household item or a fancy honeymoon trip, but a Cannondale tandem.
Of course, our sons were to be introduced to the sport as soon as they were old enough to participate. At two years of age, Nicholas rode on the back of Daddys bike enough to earn the Louisville Bicycle Clubs Junior Award in 1994 for the most mileage by a club member younger than 18. When they were younger, the boys alternated between sharing a trailer (pulled by Mom and Dad on the tandem) or riding in their own bike seat on the back of Moms and Dads bikes. The boys logged hundred of miles in this fashion.
In the spring of 96, Nicholas graduated to the stoker seat on a Cannondale tandem set up specifically for him with Lucas riding in the bike seat further back. The boys had a blast on every ride while providing the necessary "ballasts" to keep Daddy working hard. For a look back at our summer on the tandem, see "They aint heavy—theyre my sons."
Lucas, having spent two summers sitting behind his big brother on the tandem, was a natural when he finally got to the stoker seat on his own tandem in the spring of 98. The boys now each has his tandem to ride with either Mom or Dad when we go on club rides or just make a quick run to the neighborhood playground.
So far, the longest trip Nicholas and Lucas have completed was the 1998 Old Kentucky Home Tour, an overnight trip to Bardstown, Ky., and back. Mild weather gave us a perfect opportunity to ride both days of the tour, totaling 110 miles.
Spring 99: We have yet one more means of conveyance for riding with two growing boys: a pseudo-triplet so Duc can ride with both Nicholas and Lucas at the same time. Its to give us another option when Paula is not around to captain the other tandem, or just to give her a fairer chance to keep up with the Do train.
Our cycling résumé include:
A compilation of 100 Local Hills on the LBC Web site.
Our Cross-Country Trip
July 91 — West Yellowstone, Mont., to Bellevue, Ia.: Our cross-country bike trip started at the west gate of Yellowstone National Park in West Yellowstone, Mont. We rode east through Yellowstone and south through the Tetons, then headed east across Wyoming on the original BikeCentennial route for a short distance. Near Riverton, we left the route and struck out on our own across Wyoming toward Casper, Douglas and Lusk. Crossing into Nebraska, we rode south through the Sand Hill region then followed the Platte River as it flows east across the state. Joining RAGBRAI in Missouri Valley, Ia., we rode across Iowa to end our trip in Bellevue. Total distance: 1730 miles over four weeks.
Postcards from the roads: Paula sent her grandmother Kamer a series of postcards while we were on the trip. Just some snippets of our travels. We finally transcribe them for the web (March 99).
July 96 — Guttenberg, Ia., to Louisville, Ky.: After a five-year layoff to have a couple of babies, we continued with our cross-country trip in late July, riding from Guttenberg, Ia., back home to Louisville, Ky. We followed the Mississippi River from Guttenberg through Dubuque and Bellevue, Ia., before crossing it at Sabula to Savanna, Ill. From there we aimed the tandem southeasterly through the corn and soybean fields of Illinois and Indiana for Louisville and home. Eight days, 654 miles, and superb weather all week. (See River Crossings for a recap of our trip.)
Travel Journal: Paula didnt send postcards to anybody from this trip, so instead, you can read Ducs journal of the trip across Illinois and Indiana. (Transcribed for the web April 1999.)
July 98 — Yorktown, Va., to Louisville, Ky.: For a glorious two-week trip in the company of Don and Mary Margaret Williams on their red Cannondale tandem, we switched direction and started riding in Yorktown, Va., and headed westward. We followed the BikeCentennial (Adventure Cycling) TransAm route as it traverses the Tidewater region of Virginia, climbs up the Piedmont area and crosses the Blue Ridge and Appalachian mountains into Kentucky. We left the TransAm route at Berea, Ky., to head toward Louisville. Statistics: 955 miles, 13 days.
Ride Reports and Pictures:
Postcards from the roads: Paula sent a series of postcards while we were on the road, this time she sent them to her sister Brenda and brother-in-law Bill. More daily recounting of different tidbits of our travels from a stokers perspective. (Transcribed for the web March 1999.)
July 2000 — Florence, Ore., to West Yellowstone, Mont.: Once again we took to the road in the company of our favorite riding companions, Don and Mary Margaret Williams. For 16 days in July, we rode the Adventure Cycling route from the Pacific coast at Florence, Ore., to West Yellowstone, Mont. We crossed the Cascades on McKenzie Pass, and followed US 26 pretty much all the way across Oregon. We then took a northerly jog through central Idaho to enter Montana at Lolo Pass. We traversed several big valleys in southwestern Montana in a southeasterly direction toward the west entrance of Yellowstone National Park in West Yellowstone to complete the cross-country journey we started nine years before. Statistics: 1182 miles, 16 mountain passes, one continental divide, 16 days.
Trip Pictures: a photo album of the trip.
Don Williamss announcement of the trips conclusion on KyCycList
Postcards from the roads: Keeping with traditions, Paula sent her sister Brenda and brother-in-law Bill daily postcards reporting the going-ons on the road. Shes more careful in writing what ails her this time, though. (Transcribed for the web August 2000.)
Cumulative Statistics: the entire cross-country journey spans 4521 miles in 62 days of riding for an average of just under 73 miles a day, and constitutes of four separate trips over a ten-year period. We rode through ten states: eastbound through Wyoming, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana; westbound across Virginia and Kentucky; and eastbound again across Oregon, Idaho, and Montana, in that order. The longest day is a 115-miler from Grangeville east to Lochsa Lodge in Powell, Ida., most of it uphill in the desolate beauty of the Lochsa River drainage. The most difficult day has to be the leg between Bridgeport to Ogallalla, Neb., going into that infernal headwind all day reduced us to begging for a 10-mile ride into town in a pickup truck. The best day is a tie among almost every day we were out there on the tandem, riding across this beautiful land!
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