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Couple’s cross-country bike trip was an adventure in tandem

1287810010 51 Couples cross country bike trip was an adventure in tandemSeptember 19, 2010|By Sherry Boas, Simply Living

“We’re home!” my daughter called to tell me.

On Sept. 7, after 91 days and 4,380.1 miles, Jenny and her husband, Brett, completed their cross-country bike trip and flew back to new England. I first wrote about their adventure June 7, the day before they mounted their tandem recumbent bicycle and pedaled away from their home in Florence, Mass.

In June, Jenny and Brett began an odyssey that took them through 12 states and one Canadian province. they rode up and down mountains, through lush farmland, hot desert, tiny towns and small cities. they averaged almost 50 miles a day, with an average speed of about 10 mph. Although they mainly traveled on scenic secondary roads, they occasionally ventured alongside speeding trucks on major highways as well as over gravelly side roads and vehicle-free bike trails.

A number of mechanical breakdowns occurred during their trip. they replaced their bicycle computer three times and changed four flat tires and more than a dozen tire tubes. the only physical ailment was Brett’s knee, which became painful after the first days. A knee brace and frequent stretches kept the pain at bay, and by the time they reached the state of Washington, my son-in-law was able to pedal painlessly without a brace.

Although they mainly stayed in campgrounds, their accommodations also included a couple of hostels, three overnights in the homes and yards of people they met along the way, a few stealth campsites and three stays with members of the bicycling network called warmshowers.org.

only on seven occasions did they indulge in the luxury of a motel room. One of those occasions was Day 20 outside Sandusky, Mich. After biking for 40 miles through one downpour after another, Jenny and Brett were ready for a night of comfort. they chose a motel that offered a biker’s discount, pulled their 45-pound riding machine into the room, spread their wet items out to dry and took showers before preparing a delicious dinner on their camp stove.

“It felt really good to have a big bed to spread out on, in a dry room, out of the rain,” Jenny wrote that night on their blog, playalways.blogspot.com.

thanks to their online journal, staying connected was easy. A lightweight netbook and digital camera enabled the pair to capture images and keep friends, family and acquaintances well informed.

“It does my mother-heart good to know where and how you are!” Brett’s mother, Kathy Ruseckas of Leyden, Mass., commented on the blog.

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