My name is Rick Stiles, I live in Billings MT, and have gotten back into biking after several years absence after a friend talked me into riding from the Pacific Ocean (Gearhart OR) to the Atlantic Ocean (Bar Harbor ME) during the summer of 2013. For a long time I wasn’t sure about the friend comment.
My wife and I used to ride a significant amount a few years ago, but between health issues, moving, and other interests, biking ended up on the back burner. Now, I biked several one week RAGBRAI (Registered Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa) events (~475 miles). I even bicycled from the top of Michigan down to St. Joseph in three days (~300 miles) several times, and I bicycled across Michigan (~150 miles) in one day. We also bicycled around Illinois and Indiana. My wife and I even went self-contained bicycle camping on a few occasions.
For several years I was putting over 4,800 miles a year on an upright bicycle. That sounds like a lot of miles, but when you put 500 in one week, 200-300 miles on a number of weekends, and 100+ a week on regular occasions the miles build up.
As of 2012 I was 66 years old, overweight, under active, and had heart problems. As I tell people, I am not build for speed. One thing that I have going for me is endurance. I may not be the hare, but I hope to do the tortoise proud.
The two of us completed the 3,600 mile cross country self supported bicycle ride in 2013. We rode 6 days per week and took Sundays off for physical, emotional, and spiritual renewal. We went through 11 states and 2 provinces while climbing over 17 miles. Did I enjoy it? You betcha! I went to bed every night excited about new places I would see, excited about new people I would meet, and excited about physical challenges that I would experience.
In the summer of 2014 Tom ‘Biker Dude’ Hall and Rick ‘the Sloooow’ (that’s me) are planning a trip from Billings MT to Prudoe Bay AK. The die has been cast, and I can faintly hear the strains of Johnny Horton’s old tune, North to Alaska. Let the planning begin.