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Wednesday, June 20, 2007

"Bob's Big Bike Trips"

Bob Parker

Join us to welcome Bob Parker as he relates his 2000 mile bike trek across the northern tier of states and the Midwest, and also a 200 mile mountain bike ride from Telluride to Moab via the San Juan Hut system.  In addition to pictures and route descriptions, Bob will discuss the planning and preparation for these kinds of trips.

Bob has always been interested in cycling, so when, in the mid-1970s, Bicycling magazine covered the cross-country biking phenomenon that was BikeCentennial, he paid attention.  While these were not the first cross-country trips by bike, they were the first that garnered such wide participation and reporting.  Reading about the trips between assisting undergraduates with their computer courses, engendered the dream of doing a cross-country trip of this sort. It seemed like a wonderful thing to attempt.  However, more school, family, and work overtook the dream, and Bob didn't spend much time thinking about it.

Bob leaving Williston following his dream of  doing big bike trips.

In 2002, however, he began considering how to commemorate a half-century on the planet.  He wanted to do something that wasn't ephemeral, something that seemed significant and that he'd remember for a long time.  The dream of riding cross-country came back as he considered his options.

And so Bob began a two-year process of thinking, planning, and preparing, that culminated in Spring 2004 in a mostly-solo multiweek trip across much of the upper tier of the western US and through the Midwest.  The preparation was fun, but it was nothing compared to the absolute joy of unfettered riding during that time.  He achieved his goal of undertaking something memorable, and had adventures both desirable and undesirable along the way.

But then there are the side effects.  It turns out that long bike trips are addictive, and so when Bob finished this one he began thinking about another.  The next had to be more modest in scope, due to time and other constraints, and this time he roped friends into coming along.  Other changes included making this a mountain bike trip, along the spine of a nearby mountain range, and a move from self-sufficiency.  The trip was great, and this time it wasn't the feeling of getting away from it all, but the presence of friends and his son, that made it truly memorable.

During the program, Bob will talk about planning, preparation, equipment, and the rides themselves.  In addition, he will cover some of the marvelous resources available for people contemplating long-distance rides.  While making these trips he learned a few things that he thinks probably should have been obvious at the start, and he'll reflect on those as well.

Bob has lived in Los Alamos and worked at LANL for eleven years, after previously working in the computer industry in numerous other states.  He enjoys biking road, mountain, and tandem as well as running, handball, skiing, and, occasionally, climbing and backpacking.

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