2004 Mayors' Ride FINAL Report

Discussion in 'Road Cycling' started by Cycle America, Aug 5, 2004.

  1. Here I offer a synopsized version of the days that preceded Don Loomis's
    entrance to Chicago so that you can see what the long distance bicycle
    road is like. It ends with Don's experience of The Windy City itself
    where he also met the man who had rowed his bicycle in from Columbus,
    OH, Hi Tech CEO, Victor Grinshtein. Soon Victor will be filing his
    report with us. If you want to see it, it will be in the rider blogs at
    NationalBicycleGreenway.com. We also have unicyclist, Patrick Thomas, on
    our radar. Heroically, he has pedaled all the way to Iowa and expects to
    be in New York City by the end of the summer. His web noted below is
    even now chock full of pictures...

    The words below are taken from the wonderful reports that Faye Saunders
    has created for Don's ride, all of which can be found at the blog we
    keep for him (noted also in the end matter):

    [..] Biking into Tipton, the owner of the Dairy Queen bought Don's meal
    because Don was doing what the restaurant proprietor had wished he could
    do. And as he was leaving, Don met a man named Dick who, like so many
    others Don has met in this area, had ridden RAGBRAI. Somewhat familiar
    with Don's needs as a result, Dick recommended that Don camp at his
    granddad's memorial park, called affectionately, the Wally Wingert
    Memorial Park. Dick also called the local newspaper resulting in an
    article in the "Tipton Conservative" about Don's ride for the NBG. As a
    fitting end to a perfect day, when Don did fall asleep, it was to the
    sounds of crickets and frogs.

    By the time he woke up the next morning, however, the sound of cows
    chewing their cud just outside of his tent seemed to warn what was
    ahead. A persistent head wind blew against him most of the day, making
    the biking a little more challenging. Perpetual optimist that he is,
    however, Don says the wind does does feel nice and cool.
    He rode for a while on the Hoover Highway, named after the former
    president Herbert Hoover who was born in Iowa. After having breakfast
    in Lowden, Don enjoyed Beethoven's Symphony #4 which he feels is a
    lively piece, good for riding. He found it on the local radio station.
    You may recall that Don is still powering his radio, cell phone and
    computer with the solar collector he runs on top of the trailer he is

    In a convenience store in Calamus, he talked with a guy named Steve who
    used to commute 130 miles into the suburbs of Chicago. Steve was able
    to give Don some good recommendations on which roads to bike to get to
    the Chicago metropolitan area. Soon after, Don stopped at a roadside
    farm stand and ate an ear of raw corn-on-the-cob which he says was
    excellent. A short while later, he picked up some lunch meats which he
    ate a nearby park about 10 miles away from the Mississippi River in a
    town called Clinton, Iowa. He climbed up a couple of really long hills
    and found a nice campsite close enough to the river where this time he
    could hear the frogs croaking to the distant rumble of far away
    barges. All for only four dollars!

    After settling in his tent for the night, he saw two eyes looking at him
    from the darkness. He went outside his tent to see who it was and found
    a raccoon sitting on the seat of his bike. The zipper of one of the
    panniers had been left open and a plastic bag full of maps was strewn
    about and a loaf of bread was completely missing.

    The next morning he found a nice bike trail but was having difficulty
    finding a bridge to go over the Mississippi, when a cyclist named Terry
    took him to a crossing he could use. Many fellow bike riders have given
    Don escorts for which he has been very thankful.

    Once he was in Illinois and was climbing from the river bottom, when he
    put the bike in the granny gear, the chain caught just like it had back
    at Rabbit Ear's Pass in Colorado. Hoping it was just a fluke, he
    continued on to Hwy 30 where there was a small shoulder he could ride,
    nice after not having had that in Iowa. Unfortunately the shoulder
    deteriorated soon after, and since there were a lot of trucks on this
    arterial, he decided to take another road he saw on his maps. On it, he
    came upon a store called the William & Mary Computer Center. As it
    turned out, Bill and Mary had opened the store together but were later
    divorced. Mary left and Bill didn't feel like hassling with owning the
    business so he sold it and stayed on as an employee. Much to Don's
    delight, he was able to get online and retrieve his email.
    His joy continued when he rolled away on his bike - there was more
    Beethoven on the radio! He arrived in Rock Falls on a side road and
    wasn't sure where he was. A guy working in a car repair shop
    recommended Don take Hwy 38 all the way to Chicago. He ended up in
    Dixon on Hwy 38 not realizing at the time that Dixon is where 2002 NBG
    rider, Andrew Heckman, was seriously injured after being hit by a car.

    Along the highway there are signs documenting some of the local kids
    sports accomplishments. Dixon, Illinois is also the place that Ronald
    Reagan considered his home town. Don saw his home along the road and
    decided to stop and take the tour. It has been restored and furnished to
    appear as it did during that period.
    Some people Don met at a grocery store suggested he camp at Rochelle,
    which they thought was 40 miles away. On the way there, Don pulled off
    the road to watch a firefly show. Rochelle actually turned out to be
    only 25 miles away so he kept riding until he got to Franklin Grove.
    There he met a cyclist named Andrew who took him to his place for juice
    and candy bars and then directed Don to another park for camping. On
    the way, he met yet another bike rider, a fellow name Mike, on a
    recumbent. Mike pedaled with Don to a bike trail when all of sudden Don
    realized he was in Chicago. Abandoning the idea of camping at the park
    Andrew had suggested, he decided to get off the trail and camp in the
    woods. Wanting to keep a low profile, Don decided to forgo the tent and
    use DEET instead. But the insect repellent didn't deter the mosquitoes
    for long. He pulled the nylon mesh on the inside of his raincoat over
    his head and finally ended up getting a good night's sleep.

    Don stopped at Walmart where he purchased socks, yogurt, jeans, and a
    candy bar. Back on another bike trail he met Jim, a bike rider who was
    collecting empty cans. Jim rode with Don for a while. He told Don how he
    had been involved when the county decided to remove the railroad track
    and it was he who had suggested they replace the tracks with what is now
    known as the Great Western Trail that connects Sycamore with the Fox
    River on the western edge of metro Chicago.
    Don had arranged to hook up with his friend Gale, who used to live in
    San Jose and now lives in Chicago. They met along the Fox River Trail
    and biked to the end where her car was parked. However, they were unable
    to fit Don's bike in her car and he ended up riding through suburban
    Chicago to her house. There were no shoulders and lots of cars,
    forcing him to pull off until traffic subsided a few times. He found
    another bike trail, but it ended. At one point, he even had to lift his
    bike and trailer to get over a set of railroad tracks. When he did make
    it to Gale's house, her dog had challenged a skunk and the skunk won.
    By the time he was finally able to let his guard down, they went out for
    pizza. At the eatery, the walls were decorated with photos of customers.
    The waitress took a picture of Don to add to them.

    Friday, July 30 Chicago Proclamation Ceremony

    Don woke up early to a rainy day but it was too warm to wear his
    raincoat. On the way to the Chicago proclamation ceremony, he stopped
    to visit with Ruby's parents and children. Ruby is his friend from San
    Jose who saw Don off at the San Jose proclamation ceremony almost two
    months ago. He then made his way over to the Millennium Park Bike
    Station for the reception. There he met his brothers David and Gary as
    well as Mayor Daley's Chicago Bicycle Ambassador, Carlos Cuarta.

    Don was very impressed with the new Bike Station and the fact that they
    had showers and offered bike repair services as well as bike rentals. As
    testimony to Mayor Daley's commitment to Chicago cycling, the recently
    dedicated facility, located in the center of downtown, was completely
    rebuilt from an old car parking garage. With secure parking for 300 two
    wheelers, this state of the art human powered haven is mostly
    underground and will work year round. During the weekdays, it will give
    employees at the many businesses located all around it a place to
    freshen up after their ride to work as well as a safe place to stow
    their cycles and on the weekends and weeknights it will offer secure
    bike parking for concert goers and art patrons at the beautiful
    Millennium Park. Adjacent to the lengthy Lake Shore Drive path, it will
    support cycling there as well.

    At the street level entrance, Carlos read the Mayor's proclamation and
    presented it to Don and Victor. One of the cyclists at the reception
    then invited Don to join him on the Critical Mass ride that evening.
    After checking into the youth hostel, Don's brothers rented bikes from
    the Bike Station and they all made their way through the city to the
    start of the ride. Arriving a little late they had to hustle to catch
    up with the group.
    This was Don's first Critical Mass ride and he was surprised to see
    around 1,000 bike riders participating. The bicyclists just take over
    the streets. When they go through a traffic light the group just keeps
    going until they are all through no matter whether the light has changed
    or not. He felt this was a great way to see the city with no worries
    about traffic.
    He met many people at the Critical Mass ride including a redhead lady
    originally from Istanbul riding a high wheeler. She had met Jim
    Muellner when he came through Chicago on his 2003 NBG TransAm ride last
    year. Someone else in the crowd asked Don if he was a part of the NBG
    Mayors' Ride. Another man who goes by the name of XMan and makes
    videos of the Critical Mass rides for CAN (Chicago Area Network),
    interviewed Do. He promised Don a copy.

    The ride ended at Foster Beach, about six miles north of downtown
    Chicago. It was 9:30 at night and the warm lake water was just too
    inviting for some to pass up, including Don. While Don was biking back,
    he met Fred, who was on a BikeE. Fred was with his mom, who was riding
    the trike he had purchased for her to help her with her osteoarthritis.
    She was riding more and more every day and had just completed the entire
    Critical Mass ride.

    After dining with his brothers, Don got back to the youth hostel around
    2:00 am. It had been a long, but fun day.

    Report by
    Faye Saunders

    For Don his trip will continue to Washington, DC but for us yet another
    Mayors' Ride season is complete. All of our riders have exemplified the
    same class and polish that has made us welcome both on the road as Don's
    ride has shown, and in Mayor's offices all across the US. As we close
    yet another successful Mayors' Ride campaign, I want to say THX to all
    of you who have made this exciting summer real.

    From the riders, including those Mayors who biked with us, to the
    amazing Mayors' staffs we have had the privilege to work with, to the
    press that has promoted our effort with many many thousands of words, to
    our sponsors who kept the phone lines open, to our volunteers of which
    there are too many names to list, you guyz have all been awesome!! I
    thank, bless and honor each any every one of you -- I love you all!!

    THX 4 U!!

    - 2004 Mayors' Ride <http://www.BikeRoute.com/NationalMayorsRide2004>
    - Don
    - Don's blog
    - Victor Grinshtein
    - Andrew Heckman <http://webpages.charter.net/200a/AndrewHeckman2.htm>
    - Millennium Park Bike Station <http://chicagobikestation.com/>
    - Jim Muellner <http://www.bikeroute.com/NationalMayorsRide/JimMuellner>
    - Patrick Thomas <http://www.pedalthewaves.org>
    - Rowbike <http://rowbike.com>