Tuesday, July 27, 2010

This has been a very interesting week related to my biking. It's not about the heat and humidity. It's not about the near misses with auto's or trucks. It's not about the horrible conditions of the newly graveled country roads I normally ride. It's not about the oppressive heat. (Hey I guess it kinda is). It is about some very positive happenings. First, on Sunday, Harry called from England. We had a very enjoyable chat. He, again, invited us to visit and I'm close to accepting. Ronni and I are tentatively planning a trip to Europe in late August or early September to celebrate our anniversary. I have a good friend, (yes, I actually have a friend) Brian, who currently lives in England. I would be able to visit both while there. I am looking forward to finalizing our plans.
Now, on a more curious note, I was having breakfast with good friend Luke (ok, so I have 2 friends) at the Galley. It is a small restaurant in East Peoria that locals (not crazy...hummm maybe so!) patronize for a good breakfast with friendly service. It is not the "chain" variety so there are not many tourists. But, as I was entering the establishment, I noticed a touring bike with heavily loaded panniers. My first thought was that whomever the owner was, they were going on a very long trip or were returning from one. Upon entering the Galley, I observed that the only person capable of owning that bike was a young man sitting alone in the corner of the place. So as not to intrude on his privacy, Luke and I had what for us was our normal Tuesday breakfast. Soon, media types showed up to interview the young man. Since his privacy was no longer an issue I went over to introduce myself and inquire as to his circumstance . It turns out his name is Teddy Herrera he is 24 years old and is currently riding across the country. Subway is sponsoring him and he is riding to bring awareness to childhood obesity. Now, while that might sound impressive, here's the rest of the story. He started his ride in Sacramento CA. (sorry Hank and Karen, he doesn't know you guys/girls) and is going to Boston. But then, he will be heading down the East Coast to Miami Fl. and ride back to Sacramento. That is over 11,000 miles. It is a totally unsupported venture; thus, the 35 pounds of equipment he is carrying on his bike. He indicated he was going to Washington Il. to Russell's Cycle shop to get a tune-up and acquire needed supplies before heading to Chicago. He is stopping in major cities along his route to address organizations and various groups to promote awareness of the problems of childhood obesity. After a brief chat whereby I shared I had ridden from LA to Boston, I wished him good luck and headed for my daily ride. Before leaving Washington, I rode up to Russell's to see if I would run into him but alas, he had not arrived. So, I went on my two hour sojourn (heat-96 degrees, humidity 80%-mad dogs and Englishmen-shout out to Magic Mike). After returning, I decided to check and see if he was still in town. The good people at Russell's told me he left about 10 minutes before I got there. However, a patron indicated he had seen a young man at the local Subway and he still might be there. I immediately headed to the Subway and lo and behold there he sat. Fortunately, I brought my camera and we took a picture. After a brief visit I left and pondered the irony of running into Mr. Herrera. What are the chances that one of the few people in the area that bicycled across the country (me) would encounter this individual who was doing the same plus more. The stars had to be perfectly aligned, with the moon in the 7th house. Now, to me, that was amazing. So, to sum up, I wish the young man a safe journey, hope he accomplishes his goal and raises a ton of awareness to fight childhood obesity. There is a video a local channel 25 made of his ride so far. I have tried to download it onto this blog but have been unsuccessful. Now there is more to the story. After learning he would be in town until tomorrow, I invited him to stay at my place for the night and he graciously accepted. The lovely Veronica had a meal prepared and it was greatly appreciated by me and Teddy. This morning I was going to direct him to the route he needed to take to get to Chicago. But, I went ahead and biked the first 10 miles to be sure he would not get lost. I then proceeded to do another 30 to finish my riding day. All in all a very interesting experience. Here is his blog site.http://acrossamericaforchildhoodobesity.wordpress.com/

Saturday, July 24, 2010

About ready for my first century of the summer. Waiting for favorable winds and will be biking to Champaign Il. from Washington. Riders from the Cross Country ride remember will remember Champaign as a rest day in a university town. Bob, Tom, Hank and myself as well as Willie and his guests ate at Italian Inn. Later, many of the riders went to my favorite watering hole, Hubers. The wait staff still remember Harry and his "foreign" accent. They have asked if he plans on returning at some point. Apparently, Harry left quite an impression.
On another note, Ronni and I recently purchased a condo in Champaign so we will have a place to stay during our frequent visits. I am now officially "land poor" More on my century later.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Wow, it been awhile since my last post. On the biking front, governor Quinn just signed a law that makes it a misdemeanor to hit or intentionally hassle a bicyclist in Illinois. It could result in a fine of up to $2,500 and a year in jail. This is in addition to the "three feet law" that requires motorists must pass a bicyclist by at least three feet. I guess Illinois is getting serious with the "share the road" concept. Most of us who bike frequently understand that motorists who nearly hit us either don't know the law or choose to ignore it. Now, here is the ironic part. Yesterday, during my regular ride, (I still ride between 35-40 miles a day, six days a week) a car missed me by a mere half foot. There were no cars coming from the opposite direction. As he went by I glanced over and, of course, he was texting on his cell phone. After cursing him and, yes I admit it, I flipped him off, we passed a crossroad. The corn in this part of Illinois is at least seven feet tall and makes good camouflage for state troopers. Lo and behold, a troopers car was parked and the officer observed the entire episode. He immediately pulled out, put on his lights and pulled over the motorist. The guy in the car must not have seen the cop because he didn't pull over until about a mile down the road. I guess he was busy doing something. As I biked by, the officer had a big grin on his face, his ticket book in his hand, and he waved at me to keep going. I don't know if he ticketed the offender by I'm sure the motorist now knows the law.
Checking on the XC09 crew, it looks like Harry (England) is visiting California and he and the "Dalton Gang" are going on a very scary ride. Also, there is talk of a reunion ride in 2012. I hope I would be able to join them but we will see. Also, Ira, one of the faster riders from the XC09 crew, has purchased a new bike. It is awesome and I suspect Ira will now challenge Lance Armstrong for bike supremacy in the U.S. Good luck to the "posse" and stay safe on your ride.