“Perseverance is the hard work you do after you get tired of doing the hard work you already did.” —Newt Gingrich
There were rumblings around Geneseo, but it couldn’t be true. A Scamp Man? Indeed the stuff of RV park gossip or suburban legend. We dismissed it as so with no sign at his site all day, thinking there couldn’t be two, and retired for the night.
When I poked my head out early to inspect my bike and prepare for the day’s ride, I caught a glimpse of a car parked at the last known sighting of the man. When I turned, it was gone, and just as we thought, there weren’t two.
The sleepy city of Geneseo can keep its fascination, and I hit the country roads and headed out of town.
While marveling at the crop dusters’ aerial acrobatics and the Illinois landscape’s manicured beauty, I rode from small town to village as I traveled east. The populated areas are more frequent now, giving me something to see, explore, and process as the miles went carelessly behind.
When I noticed the familiar car parked on the short shoulder ahead, I sped by without a care. Behind the rolled-up window, a smile and a wave from a man wearing a brightly colored shirt. Then it occurred to me where I had seen the vehicle before. Could it be? I had to find out and circled back to confirm the sighting.
Bob Cohen was his name, and as he described it, “I am walking across the country!” That’s not how I saw it when he told me how he finds a place to rest his Scamper for a few days to take on his adventure.
Bob marks where he left off for the day and then moves his car with his bike inside a few miles ahead. He rides back to the starting location, walks his bike back, and then “Repeat, little by little!”
By the time he picks up camp to move on, he is a little closer to WALKING AND BIKING ACROSS THE COUNTRY.
Chalk up another one in the People and Their Bikes Are Amazing category. Bob’s bike first went across the country in the Eighties after he rode it to become an IRONMAN. It will take Bob several Summers to achieve his goal.
It didn’t take more than a few seconds for us to form the bond that two like-minded individuals do when they find each other. Be safe, Bob! I’ll see you in New York, if not sooner!
The Schwenk Tank crew deftly handled a few detours, and I was in Utica, IL, a couple of gravel roads later. The RV park was a hidden oasis of shade trees nestled between miles of farm fields. We took a moment to unwind and set off to explore the downtown.
The metro areas we come across now are not short on big box stores and fast food, but there is always a historic district. That is where we found the Big Ben Brewery housed in the 1880s Westclox building in Peru, IL.
The Western Clock company was the largest manufacturer then, and the building served as the site of women workers during the war. Now it houses many businesses, including the newly formed Big Ben Brewery.
It was a fabulous space, and true to the dwelling’s roots, the Beer Wall was an innovation new to us! It was a fine way to regale the crew of my experiences for the day and the friendship I made with an incredible man. That’s what it’s all about!
About the DIRT Dad Fundo Pledge for Day Forty-One—Alan Fischer
Here is what Alan had to say—”I became an endurance athlete shortly after joining the Army. It was a central part of my life for a decade and a half before a debilitating foot injury left me barely able to walk for 4 years. Last summer, a final long-shot surgery did enough to get me back on the bike. Being able to ride again and to do so with the incredible community and support of DIRT and my local cycling team and clubs has been such a positive force in my life. I’m grateful for it everyday!”
Amount Raised to Date—$8,673
Thank you, Alan!
Now off to Minooka, IL!
To support Chris in his effort to raise awareness of The DIRT Dad Fund, the non-profit he created to assist members of the worldwide cycling community, check out this link to learn more.
Find out where you can pledge a donation and subscribe to The ZOMs newsletter to follow along on the journey.
Semi-retired as owner and director of his private Orthopedic Physical Therapy practice after over 20 years, Chris is blessed with the freedom to pursue his passion for virtual cycling and writing. On a continual quest to give back to his bike for all the rewarding experiences and relationships it has provided him, he created a non-profit. Chris is committed to helping others with his bike through its work and the pages of his site.
In the summer of 2022, he rode 3,900 miles from San Francisco to New York to support the charity he founded, TheDIRTDadFund. His “Gain Cave” resides on the North Fork of Long Island, where he lives with his beautiful wife and is proud of his two independent children.
You will read him promoting his passion on the pages of Cycling Weekly, Cycling News, road.cc, Zwift Insider, Endurance.biz, and Bicycling. Chris is co-host of The Virtual Velo Podcast, too!