Ruth Billings set out for her 50th Central High School reunion on Memorial Day, May 30, from Fort Collins, Colorado and arrived in South Bend, Indiana on June 23, some 1106 miles later. The 67 year old rode her bike alone pedaling about 60 miles per day.
She reports she never felt unsafe or worried about others. She called a friend each night, who had a list of Ruth’s motel destinations, to report her progress and her whereabouts.
She wore a reflective vest to be as visible as possible.
Inspired by an article in Adventure Cycling magazine about a woman doing a similar trip, she decided to attempt the same. She planned her route each day, as she traveled, using maps of trails and bikeways for the most part. At times she rode on highways with clean wide shoulders and on back roads as well from Colorado, through Nebraska, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Michigan and into Indiana.
When she got to Wisconsin she followed bike paths to Lake Michigan. She rode the 40 miles of “Military Ridge” trail to Madison and followed several more paths, the “Glacial Drumlin,” the “New Berlin” trail and on to Milwaukee. There she rode the ferry across Lake Michigan to Muskegon, and continued on along Michigan’s Lake Shore into Indiana. Much of the Lake Shore was familiar from days spent at Lake Michigan as a child.
Ruth was welcomed with admiration and awe at her High School reunion and fielded many questions about her adventure. Of course, she was awarded the longest distance anyone rode on a bike to the event. She was without competition.
This probably will not be her last adventure.
Ruth’s thoughts of wisdom are not to look at the whole of such an overwhelming event but to tackle it in parts. “We reach our goals in little bits.”