What happens to former Race Across America bike riders? Sometimes they're kind of like old soldiers, “they just ride away.”
Two-time RAAM champion Danny Chew is one of those riding away on his bicycle with a goal of tallying 1 million miles.
Riding indoors or on a trainer doesn't count. Chew logs all his miles outside, which is why it's not surprising that he recently turned up crossing the Alaska border on his bicycle with his nephew, Steven Perezluha.
Perezluha, 18, enlisted his uncle to accompany him on a bicycle tour from his home in Longwood, Florida, to Alaska and back. Since Chew lives in Pittsburgh, his nephew bicycled the first 1,200 miles alone and then with his father.
A story in the Orlando Sentinel tells some of the highlights of the bicycle ride that continued from Pittsburgh on June 12. It sounds like the teen-ager had no trouble matching his 46-year-old world-class bicycling uncle.
— Perezluha prepared for the trip for a year. His training regimen included putting his friend in a shopping cart and pulling him for 25 miles to imitate the act of pulling a cargo-laden bike trailer.
— Partly alone, and partly with his father, Perezluha bicycled the 1,259 miles to Pittsburgh in 7 days.
— Early in their bike travels they decided the trailers were too heavy and unloaded 30 pounds of gear (they started out with a 3-person tent, an air mattress and more).
— Their route took them into Canada at Niagara Falls and across Canada. They found insects a particular problem, along with saddle sores and boredom of riding across the plains.
— They aimed for 100-some miles a day, which usually took six to 14 hours to achieve. Their diet consisted of oatmeal for breakfast and pasta for dinner just about everyday.
The pair picked up the 1,400-mile Alaska Highway in British Columbia and that became their route to the border. They crossed the border on Aug. 6, 47 days and 5,115 miles after leaving Pittsburgh.
Their bike tour ended in Anchorage. That's where they turned around and began their return bicycle trip on Aug. 13. We wish them good luck on a safe return home.
When Chew arrives back in Pittsburgh, he'll be 10,000 miles closer to achieving his 1 million mile goal.
The ultracyclist already has hit the metric million mark back in November 2007 during the Dirty Dozen bike ride. That's a challenging event in Pittsburgh that Chew co-founded. It routes bicyclists over the city's steepest hills.
As amazing as Chew's goal is, there is someone out there who has eclipsed it. Freddie Hoffman of New Jersey is the bicycle world's million-mile man. When I wrote about him back in 2006, he had ridden his bicycle 1.3 million miles.