Biking with Eli from Ohio to New York State, 2012

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Back in the Spring of 2012, when Eli was finishing up his first year at Oberlin College, we spoke on a Skype call. I asked him if he wanted me to give him a ride back home after his final exams. “Yeah, that’d be great,” he responded, then paused to confirm one important detail. “You are bringing the car, right?”

“No car. Just the tandem bike,” I replied. A few weeks later, I flew into Columbus Ohio with our Bike Friday tandem packed in two suitcases, and my old friend David Levine drove me up to Oberlin the next day. I assembled the bike, and Eli packed his summer gear into the suitcases, which David shipped back East for us. Eli had seven days to ride over 400 miles to central New York State for a family reunion and memorial service for my father, John, who also enjoyed riding his bike. Below is a photomap of our ride (see full-screen version). We originally planned to ride 480 miles across the Northern Tier bike route (by Adventure Cycling) and the Erie Canal bike trail (by Parks and Trails NY) to my hometown of Morrisville, NY. But we modified our trip and rode 429 miles in 5 days, then caught a ride with relatives in Skaneateles, NY to avoid some hills on a very hot day.

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Jack Dougherty

Jack Dougherty writes about cycling adventures, advocacy, and his growing appetite at JackBikes.org.