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[Pacific Lutheran Scene]

Bicyclist Bangsund crosses country in 47 days

By Ed Larson ’57

<font face=arial size=-1><b>David Bangsund and his wife,  Lynne, at the start of his bicycle adventure
David Bangsund and his wife, Lynne, at the start of his bicycle adventure.

When David Bangsund ’71 finished his cross-country bicycle ride, the comment from his wife, Lynne ’70, was that “he now has legs of steel!” An avid bicyclist, Bangsund and other family members have taken numerous biking vacations. But the 47-day trip that he negotiated in May and June was something altogether different.

In late May, Bangsund and more than 50 other bikers waded into the water with their bicycles near Manhattan Beach, Calif., for a “wheel dipping ceremony.” Forty-seven days and 3,425 miles later (and 30 pounds lighter!) Bangsund and his cohorts pedaled into Boston, Mass., and submerged their tires in the Atlantic Ocean, thereby completing their cross-country trek. Only two of the original troupe of bikers did not finish, and their failure to complete the monumental journey was due to injuries sustained along the way.

The bikers came from many countries—Canada, England, Germany, Wales, Japan, New Zealand and the United States. While the bicyclists’ ages were mostly in the 60s, there was one woman in her early 20s who was just out of college, as well as a 77-year-old man who had navigated the lengthy trip several times before.

Among the riders were three college professors, a priest, several attorneys, a youth minister and a woman who sells vintage clothing. She managed to purchase more than 250 old hats as she traveled through the countryside.

The bikers were accompanied by CrossRoads, a group that provides support, emergency help, and other services, such as hotel booking, along the way.

The greatest challenges facing the bikers included the heat of Southern California and New Mexico, thunderstorms in the Midwest, the many ups and downs of hills and mountain passes in Arizona, and the constant pressure of auto drivers and truckers who begrudged having to share the road with bicyclists.

On the other hand, Bangsund pointed out that the steep climbs were somewhat counter-balanced by the “free ride” that the downhill portions provided. A highlight of the trip was when the bikers were allowed to ride around the Indianapolis Speedway in Indiana.

When asked whether he would undertake such a trip again, Bangsund said: “Probably not that particular ride again… but I would be open to something similar.”

Then, on the weekend following his return to his home in Portland, Ore., Bangsund hopped on his bicycle and rode the 100 miles to Olympia, Wash., to visit some friends!


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