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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Around the country in 67 days

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Richard Lyons poses with his bike at the Hoosier Pass in Colorado in the midst of his cross-country bicycle ride. Lyons said this was the highest point in his trip. He traveled about 4,000 miles while going from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean. Photo courtesy of Richard Lyons
When Richard Lyons realized he had a full two months of summer without anything to do, he decided to fulfill a longtime ambition -- to ride his bike across the country.

Lyons, a 57-year-old physical education teacher at Bainbridge Elementary, said he had been considering a trip like this for a long time.

"Well, just initially, I've been biking for a long time and I've read some stories about cross-country biking, and they made me curious" Lyons said. "I realized I had an opportunity to do this after my daughter's wedding on June 5."

Lyons began his trip on June 8, three days after his daughter's wedding. He left from Cape Disappointment in Washington and rode for two months and around 4,000 miles. He said he averaged about 65 to 70 miles in a day. He ended Aug. 6 at the Yorktown Victory Monument in Virginia.

He said road conditions determined how easy or hard a ride was.

"In Oregon, there would be logging trucks on the road and small shoulders," Lyons said. "I ended up kind of dodging bark as those trucks would go by. That ended around Walla Walla, Washington."

Although his route tended to be on less-traveled paths, Lyons said that wasn't always an option.

"In southern Wyoming I was on the interstate for 14 miles," he said. "It really wasn't that bad. There was a nice, wide shoulder. Also, when they make an interstate, they cut off the top of hills, which is nice."

To plan his route, Lyons used maps from the Adventure Cycling Association, a website with a variety of cross-country routes for sale. He picked one that started in the Pacific Northwest and took him through Yellowstone National Park.

"Yellowstone was my favorite part," Lyons said. "I've hiked through there, but I've never rode my bike through the entire park before."

Lyons said he wasn't able to do much sightseeing because he had a deadline to get back home so he could prepare for the school year.

Before he could start his journey, Lyons had to prepare for a variety of situations. He bought a new type of bicycle called a touring bike, which would allow him to carry more weight. He got panniers for his new bike -- basically saddlebags that attached around the wheels. He then had his new bicycle broken down and shipped to a store in Oregon.

"This isn't something I just did," Lyons said. "I'd been thinking about it for a long time."

When Lyons began his trip, he didn't tell his family what he intended to do. He said he was nervous about telling people and then not being able to finish the trip.

"I just told everyone I was going to head out west and ride my bike a little," Lyons said. "It wasn't until Kansas that I told my family I wanted to make it to the Atlantic."

Lyons said some family members told him he was crazy, and if they had known what he intended they would have flown out after him and returned with him. His daughter, a frequent riding partner, told him "you better finish."

Lyons said as his trip went on, he experienced a full range of weather. In the Pacific Northwest, it was mostly cold and rainy. As he headed west, it started to warm up. He noticed a turn toward warmth in Pueblo, Colo. As the temperature kept increasing, Lyons sent home a 13-pound bag full of cold-weather clothes.

Lyons said he never found out how much his equipment weighed.

"I talked with some of the other riders I encountered, and they said the same thing I said, they didn't want to know how much everything weighed," Lyons said. "I just didn't want that in my head. I just wanted to concentrate on the ride, not the weight."

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Congratulations Mr. Lyons! What a great accomplishment. Keep up the good work with our children at Bainbridge Elementary.

-- Posted by nikkilpn on Wed, Sep 22, 2010, at 9:09 AM

Congrats Mr.Lyons, I am sure your studens are proud of you!

-- Posted by RDALERESIDENT on Wed, Sep 22, 2010, at 3:28 PM


-- Posted by Harmony Church on Wed, Sep 22, 2010, at 6:31 PM

Congrats Richard. I always knew you were a little crazy, this is an accomplishment of a lifetime. We can't wait for next summer to see what you plan to do to top this! We should all be so motivated to do something like this, even if it is just to do good work in our communities with this much zeal and joy.

-- Posted by hoosierpete on Thu, Sep 23, 2010, at 10:37 AM

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