Biking All 50 States

This week we have a special guest post. I learned about Deanne and Roger through the Facebook page Rails to Trails. I loved their story and knew that all of you would find it inspiring too! Their story makes a great follow up to last week’s post about Cultivating the Trail Family Lifestyle Wherever You Are. You truly can begin any time!

Hi!  My name is Deanne, and my husband Roger and I have set a goal to bike all 50 states. I was so excited when Shannon invited me to write a guest blog entry for “Trail Family” about our adventures!  Let me get started by telling you a little bit about ourselves and how our biking lifestyle began.  

Cycling has always been a hobby of mine, but 14 years ago it became more of an obsession, and eventually a way of life. The big change came when I was volunteering with a youth group that our teenage son was involved in.  The youth leader set a lofty goal of a 300 mile bike trip for the teens.  I decided I wanted to chaperone, bought a better bike and started biking every free minute I had to prepare.  Roger decided to join the fun and we rode our bikes 330 miles in 5 days with 7 teenage boys and 2 other adults.  Our son was the youngest, Roger was the oldest and I was the only female.  It was the adventure of a life time and left us wanting more! Since that time, most of our  family vacations have included some biking, and our vacations as a couple have been been planned primarily around fun cycling opportunities.

Couple and bike in front of a trail sign
Deanne and Roger in Alabama. State #18!

A couple years ago I started listing all the states I had biked in, and realized that of the 17 states that made the list, 16 of them had been since my 50th birthday! Roger is one state behind me as I biked New York City with our daughter, but for him all these bike rides have been in his sixties. That for a man who bought a bicycle when we started dating and walked it home because he didn’t know if he could still ride one!  He didn’t start riding on a regular basis until his fifties and by the time he retired he was commuting to work 12 miles round trip, all year in Michigan!!  Now that our nest is empty, Roger is retired, and I only work during the school year, I was finally able to get him excited about the possibility of biking all 50 states after the age of 50.  Once I got him on board, I decided to document all of our rides in each state, and started a Facebook page called “Fridleys Bike 50 States After 50”. I spent the winter months writing about the states we have already biked in, and planning 10 new states to ride in 2020.  We biked 4 of them before the Covid-19 pandemic, had to cancel 2 of them and are hopeful that as restrictions are lifted we will be able to resume our adventure.  So now we have biked 20 states with 30 to go!

Man sitting on a bench near a waterfall with bicycles behind the bench
Roger enjoying the scenery of Pennsylvania’s Great Allegheny Path

We absolutely loved our biking experiences in Pennsylvania! We spent a day cycling Pittsburgh, the great city where the Allegheny River and the Monongahela River meet to form the mighty Ohio River. Pittsburgh is a fun and vibrant city with amazing views, and any cyclist would love touring Bicycle Heaven, which claims to be the “World’s Largest Bike Museum, Sales Shop and Repairs center!”  You could see every bike imaginable in this incredible establishment! The next two days, we biked the entire Great Allegheny Passage (GAP) from Pittsburgh Pennsylvania to Cumberland Maryland, with an overnight stop in Ohiopyle. GAP is one of the best trails in the country and we enjoyed biking over very high old railroad bridges and through cool train tunnels.  We saw more waterfalls than we could count and the scenery was spectacular. We also got to cross the Eastern Continental Divide.  I would love visit this trail again in the fall when  I hear the colors are breathtaking.

If you would like to read about the other states we have had the privelege of visiting, please visit our page “Fridleys Bike 50 States after 50”  on Facebook!* *The FB shortcut says RideLikeAGirl because that was the original name before we set this goal and I repurposed the page. 

Shannon here. I hope you enjoyed Deanne’s story and I encourage you to check out their Facebook page for more. What an incredible inspiration they are.

Thank you again, Deanne and Roger for sharing your story with us. We wish you all the best and can’t wait to see you reach your goal of riding in all 50 states!

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