Circumnavigating Lake Michigan by bicycle

When I was in college I had plans to graduate and take a job that started in the fall so I could spend the summer riding my bicycle across the country. Never mind that I had done nothing longer than a couple of seven day bike camps that were extremely well supported by Ralph and Mary Kay Horn. I had been a licensed racer and it sounded like a great adventure.
By the time I actually graduated, I had been married for a year and enlisted in the Air Force for six months. Then came children and then starting a business and suddenly I was approaching 50. The children were all grown and the business was competently run by my remarkable team, so I decided to dust off that cross country ride idea. Of course my darling wife was willing to support the idea if I presented more of a plan rather than just an idea. I built a 5 year plan that started with buying a new bicycle and training for the Hilly Hundred. I didn’t train as much as I should have but the Hilly is not as challenging as those who ride it want their non-riding friends to think.
With the Hilly Hundred behind me, I looked for a longer challenge the next year. I found the Ride Across Indiana (RAIN). It was 160 miles in one day. I trained more but still not enough, and I finished the ride in 11 hours against my 10 hour goal.
While riding RAIN I talked with some riders who were doing RAIN Storm. I had found my next preparatory event: 100+ miles per day for the five days leading up to RAIN then the 160 mile RAIN. The heat,  humidity, and southern Indiana hills nearly killed me.
And I skipped a day in the middle, but I got to Richmond under my own power on Saturday.
To this point my rides were getting longer each year, but the real challenge was to cross the country alone. Unsupported. So now I begin my final tune up for going transcontinental. I’m riding around Lake Michigan alone; carrying everything with me. Now I intend to take advantage of the fact that I’m riding thru America so I don’t expect to do any cooking. I do plan to camp out (as little as possible). I hope to spend roughly a third of the nights in hotels, a third couch surfing, and a third camping.
I’m leaving on August 22nd.
Watch for my story.


One thought on “Circumnavigating Lake Michigan by bicycle

  1. Damon! What a cool trip. I covered much of Michigan(lower and Upper) while in high school and college by bike. Great memories. I will follow your posts now that I have located the wordpress link to the whole deal. Have fun and be safe. Later this fall I embark on a similar adventure. I am sailing across the atlantic on a 42 ft sailboat from the Canaries to St Lucia. An idea that I have fostered since me teen years. You are only as old as you feel! Wake up to a nice cold day and enjoy a bike ride…

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