USBRS: A Tale from the Road

Today’s guest blogger is Phyllis Counts of Seattle, who is sharing a tale from her cross-country bike trek in 2010.  Phyllis is supportive of the US Bicycle Route System and our efforts to create routes in Washington State.  We hope you’ll support our effort as well with a $10 donation to our USBRS Team Washington fundraising page.
Fred and Barb. 

Just two examples of why this U.S. bicycle route system is a good idea. And they’re not even from here … Egads, they’re FOREIGNERS!

Last summer when I was pedaling across the country with my friend Jerry, we had the pleasure of meeting these two colorful, happy, and vigorous souls … a 77-year-old couple from Melbourne, Australia. Fred and Barb are retired sheep ranchers, who, until around the time they both turned 70 and hopped on their first touring bikes, were simply hard working Aussies, raising kids and grandkids and keeping their ranch running. When Fred retired from sheep ranching, he became a contractor, building and remodeling homes. Barb retired from her university position as an accounting professor. 

Somewhere around that time, they were given a tandem, started bicycle touring, and haven’t looked back. They have toured in Tasmania, Australia, New Zealand, Europe, Canada and completed two tours in the United States, the first using the Adventure Cycling Pacific Coast route, and then fulfilled their long time dream of riding across the country, coast to coast on the classic TransAmerica route.

Fred and Barb touring Yellowstone National Park.

It was our good fortune and sheer delight to meet and travel with them for weeks while they pushed and pulled their fully loaded Co-Motion tandem through the Appalachians, the Ozarks, the Rockies and finally the Cascades. They infused our days and nights with great humor and Aussie insights, delighting in sights, sounds and historical monuments that we mostly take for granted.
Barb and Fred are only two of the many amazing adventure cyclists we met coming across from Virginia to Oregon.
My point to this reminiscing is that our trip and our lives were enriched by meeting and traveling with these people, folks we most likely would not have met had it not been for the detailed route and map system established by Adventure Cycling Association that we were all following. If we had all been on different highways and backroads, we might never have bumped into each other.
In our cross country bicycle journey, having common routes made the difference — whether it was to borrow a pump or spare tube in a crashing rainstorm, soaking up companionship and stories after a climbing three or four mountain passes in one day, or getting into a pickup game of tent-sack football in a small city park — it made the entire trip a richer experience. 
Fred and Barb on their Co-Motion tandem in the high plains of Colorado.
To Fred and Barb we say thanks for being our new friends, and for the invitation to come do a little bicycle touring in Australia. And, thanks to Adventure Cycling Association for mapping fabulous routes and continuing to be a great cycling resource, and source of inspiration to travel by bike.
Adventure Cycling is leading the national effort to create the US Bicycle Route System and the Bicycle Alliance is their partner in Washington.  A USBRS fundraising campaign is happening during the month of May.  If you make a contribution through our Team Washington page, a portion of it will be dedicated to the work here in our state.
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One Comment

  1. Posted May 20, 2011 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

    I hope that the maps also include the “prevailing wind” direction per season, which is mostly West to East! Which is why I rode from Seattle to South Carolina instead of the reverse. Nothing like 70 days of headwinds to make a good trip misery.