I was riding my bike Friday on the Glacial Lakes State Trail to take some photos for a story I was writing about the trail.
After taking some shots in Spicer, I was about to get back on my bike when I noticed a cyclist pedaling towards me.
This was a type of cyclist not commonly seen in these parts.
It was obvious from a distance that this guy was a touring cyclist because his bike was equipped with front and rear panniers or saddlebags.
Touring cyclists carry everything they need to live for days, weeks or months in their panniers, including camping gear, clothes and food. Usually such cyclists do their riding without a support team like the tours I’ve been on.
Thinking that some shots of this type of cyclist using the trail would be a great addition to my project, I began shooting photos of him as he approached, hoping it would be OK with him,
I was surprised that he stopped right in front of me as he said, “Hi Gary.”
That’s when I realized I knew him.
It was Gary Peterson. We’re high school classmates.
He and I had spent some time at our last class reunion – I not going mention the number of that reunion because it just makes me feel old – discussing bicycling.
Gary and his friends — one from Colorado Spring and two from Dallas – spent two weeks a couple years ago pedaling the Pacific Coast Highway from Port Angeles on Puget Sound in Washington to Eureka, Calif.
That’s 850 miles.
Last year they rode 450 miles in a week in the Black Hills.
This year they wanted a route that didn’t involve so much climbing.
Gary suggested they tour Minnesota.
They agreed and took off Sunday on a six-day, 430-mile ride to such places as Fergus Falls, Bemidji, Brainerd and Little Falls traveling mostly on the Wobegon and Paul Bunyan trails.
That’s why Gary was on the trail practicing with sand bags weighing a total of 60 pounds in his panniers.
Here’s hoping that Gary and his friends have a great ride.
And maybe Gary will share a few details and a few photos with this blog.