Day 40 Sandusky to Newburg – 66 miles through downtown Cleveland

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MapMyRide Stats: 66.26 Miles  |  4:36  Time |  14.4 mph

Sandusky, Ohio is a resort town located between Toledo to the west and Cleveland to the east.  It is on lake Erie and has a big park called Cedar Point which attracts lots of families to this city of 25,000.  As we rode our bikes out of town we headed towards downtown Cleveland.  The ride was as smooth as it could be.  The sky was blue, the land was flat and our group of cyclists stayed together to get through the city traffic.  It was really exciting to ride the bicycle trail that follows along lake Erie.

 

Lakefront Bikeway
This is the Lakefront Bikeway we rode through Cleveland

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Lake Erie under blue skies and cool 70 degree temps
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My Pedego bicycle traveled many miles to see lake Erie

This ride was made exciting by a ride through downtown Cleveland, Ohio.  We went past the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and several Cleveland neighborhoods.  There was an unplanned stop along the way through a little Italian community with authentic pastry and gelato.  We rode in small groups for safety as we traveled the city streets.

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Cycling through downtown Cleveland
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There are many food trucks in Cleveland
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Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
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Industrial Cleveland, alive and well.

Day 38 Napoleon to Sandusky, OH – 88 Miles – Flat with a Tailwind

Cycling Napoleon to Sandusky through Flat Ohio roads - with a tail wind.
Cycling Napoleon to Sandusky through Flat Ohio roads – with a tailwind.

MapMyRide Stats:  88 Miles   |  Time: 5:20   |  16.5 Mph

The day started with thunder and lightning.  We woke up to a boisterous thunderstorm that slowly phased itself out as we left our campsite at the Bayshore campground and headed out in the dark with wet roads and dark clouds ahead.

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The temperature on this July afternoon was 74 degrees…it was excellent!

The weather turned on us as it cleared up by mid-day — a high of 74 degrees with a crystal blue sky.  The cool summer day was complemented with a tailwind and then a blue sky.  We have got to be the luckiest cyclists ever on the Big Ride Across America!

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The clouds gave way to a brisk tailwind and blue sky
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Can you see the tailwind blowing the soybeans in the same direction we traveled? I love tailwinds!

Once we got to Sandusky, we found these amazing insects — the Mayfly.  There is a website called the Mayflies of Lake Erie which gives all the background on this localized insect.  Mayflies usually live for 24-72 hours. They spend 1-2 years on the bottom of lake Erie as a nymph living burrowed in the mud. They hatch around June and can be found everywhere around the lake.  They fly around lights at night and then latch on once they get tired of flying.

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Sometime around the middle of May and lasting into July, there is a plague of insects that strikes the cities, towns, and villages along Lake Erie’s shoreline: the Mayfly.
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Mayflies were all over the men’s shower door
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Home Sweet Home for two nights at the KOA campground in Sandusky, Ohio

Day 37 Kendalville to Napolean, OH – 70 Miles

Cycling on flat Ohio country roads
Cycling on flat Ohio country roads

MapMyRide Stats  70.5 Miles 4:35  15.4 mph

This bike ride between Indiana and Ohio was fantastically flat with more corn and soybeans. You can imagine how thrilled we were to see a field of oats to give a sense of variety.

The roads are now becoming more populous as we head East.  There are more cars on the roads, more potholes, ruts and objects that take a high degree of focus as we ride.  Our ride leader, Charlton DuRant from VeloSante, tries to start each day out with a gentle reminder about how important it is that we keep our guard up and use best rider practices.  As we ride in the same lane as the car traffic, it is important to know when to “take the lane” and when to keep to the side.  Safety is an important part of our coast-to-coast bicycle ride, so we have the highest regard for our rider safety — every day!

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Entering state #10 – Ohio

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More Corn!

 

 

Day 36 Valpariso to Kendalville, IN – 114 Miles through flat farmland

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114 Miles through flat farmland

MapMyRide Stats:   114 Miles  |  Time:  6:27   |  17.6 Mph

This was an excellent day for cycling.  The temperature was in the high 70’s with a slight tailwind.  The sky was blue all day and there was a zero percent chance of rain.  The cycling through Indiana was flat with lots of soybeans and corn.

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Sunrise in the cool, misty morning

Kendallville is a warm town who welcomed us with a dinner with the Mayor, W. SuzAnne Handshoe.  The Parks Department and their board of directors made us dinner and breakfast in Bixler Lake Park.  Their hospitality was gracious and generous.  They made us feel like family.

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Kendallville is very patriotic. They have many soldiers who serve our country.
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The flat land in Indiana is used for growing lots of corn and soybeans.

Battery report:  For those of you who want to know about how the electric bicycle handles this high mileage, here are some details from today’s ride:

Battery 1-35 miles

Battery 2-30 miles

Battery 3-40 miles

Battery 4 just started when we reached our destination — the county park.

At this point in the trip, we have accumulated about 2500 miles and the battery life is hovering around 35-40 miles per battery.  Each day, I try to completely discharge the battery before changing it.  Each night, I run three chargers with three batteries.  I carry three on the bike and keep one in the mechanic’s truck in case it is needed in an emergency.  The extra battery on the truck is available every day if I think I am running low on power.  I am riding the electric bike with the power assist at levels 2 and 3 most of the time.  After 36 days on the road, I have only used four batteries twice, and both days were over 100 miles.

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Soybeans….lots of soybeans

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Day 35 Coal City, IL to Valpariso, IN – 86 Miles – Cycling Through Amish Farmland

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MapMyRide Stats:  86 Miles  |  Time:   5:31   |   15.5 Mph

We cycled through tidy farms owned by Amish and Mennonite farmers.

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The roads in the state of Indiana are rough — lots of broken pavement — but they were tolerable because the traffic was fairly light and the terrain was flat.  We made the trek to Valparaiso Universitywhere we were thrilled to stay in dorm rooms with laundry facilities and air conditioning.  The school is nicknamed Valpo.

We were very happy to join Ben and Chris as they made their way through the state of Indiana on their way home from the RAGBRAI expo in Iowa.  We got to eat with them at a local brewpub and enjoy company from home.  Thanks Ben and Chris for the visit, that was really special!

Ben and Chris joined us for some local food and beer
Ben and Chris joined us for some local food and beer

 

Sunrise cycling to beat the heat.
Sunrise cycling to beat the heat

Day 34 – Garden Prarie to Coal City, IL – 109 Miles

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MapMyRide Stats:   109 Miles  |  Hours 6:42  |   16.2 Mph

Riding through the state of Illinois was long but mostly flat with interesting waterways and quaint little towns.  We ended this day at a campground in Coal City.  The city has several deep quarry holes from man-made coal mining properties.  The coal was mined very deep into the ground before fresh spring water filled the landscape to create several recreational waterways.  Our campsite was next to one of these man-made lakes; there were boats, swimmers and lots of recreational activity.

 

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Early morning exit from Garden Prairie Illinois
Corn fields are everywhere
Corn fields are everywhere..they call it “fuel corn”
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There are lots of big time farmers who rotate their fields between corn and soy beans
Coal City Recreational Area
Coal City Recreational Area – Camped out for the night

 

Day 33 Madison, Wi. to Garden Prarie, Il. – 94 Miles

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MapMyRide Stats:  93.3 Miles  |  Speed 16.3 Mph

Riding out of a bicycle-friendly city was pure joy!  Bicycles have their own space and infrastructure — designated lanes and bicycle paths throughout the city.  There are many cyclists in this town because it is flat and safe to ride.

Madison is a bicycle friendly town.
Madison is a bicycle-friendly town. It was a fun couple days at Wisconsin University.

The bike ride today was out of the city and through rural Wisconsin dairy land.  There were lots of farms, with lots of cows.  The hills were rollers which gently flattened out as we approached Illinois.  The weather was perfect, in the 70’s, and the sky was clear all day with a zero percent chance of rain.

 

Happy Cows
Happy Cows

 

Golden Wheat Fields
Wheat is almost ready for harvesting

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Cathy and Paul Entering the 8th State on The Big Ride Across America

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Day 31 Viroqua to Madison – 100 Miles – Through the Polar Vortex

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Today’s 100-mile ride was pretty cold — we rode through really thick, intense fog.  The temperatures today were really cold, my hands and feet were freezing even though I had 2 long-sleeve shirts and a rain coat, leg warmers and fingerless gloves.  I was chilly starting the day out.

MapMyRide Statistics:    100 Miles  |  Time:  6:59  |  14.4 mph

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Unseasonably cold for July

It was amazing to ride through such a dense cloud of moisture, you could feel yourself punching through the density of the air as we rode through it.

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Riding early in the morning through the dense fog was really exciting. You could feel the density of the air.
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The clouds demonstrate how excellent the weather has been on this tour.
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Flood plains on the Mississippi River
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Wow – The corn grows tall here!  Cold temperatures in 50’s
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The roads we rode on were lush, and quiet – Wisconsin is very leafy and green

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Day 30 Winona to Viroqua, WI – 65 Miles – Across the Mississippi

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New State on the Big Ride Across America: Wisconsin

We have ridden over 2000 miles and we are entering our 7th state. Hard to believe we are almost done!  We were thrilled to stay the night in a dorm room with all the extras we have come to expect.  One of the biggest benefits — no mosquitoes!

MapMyRide Statistics:    71 Miles  |  Time:  4:47   |  14.8  mph

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Sunrise Bicycle Ride

The ride today was quite smooth given all the climbing we had to do.  The hills were pretty steep; the only one marked was 10% grade but it was over a mile long.  At the top of the hill was a serene setting that overlooked the Mississippi River gorge.  These happy cows came over to say Welcome to Wisconsin.

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Happy cows in Wisconsin! Cheese curds were on the menu from Kevin and Jen who know a lot about this part of the U.S.

While riding in the rolling hills, we got to see lots of Amish people working in their fields.  The crops changed to reflect the local population, as we saw more oats and alfalfa growing to feed the working horses.  We also saw a few buggies parked next to the river while the men fished.

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Big Riders entering Wisconsin – Our 7th state.
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This King of Beers doesn’t come from Anheuser-Busch
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Mississippi River Crossing
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The World’s Largest 6-Pack in LaCrosse, Wi.

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Day 29 Owatonna to Winona, MN – 90.2 Miles

This was an amazing day, with a strong tailwind the entire trip. We got into the dorms at 11:30 am — after riding 90 miles! It was so early, we had time to walk into downtown Winona, shop at a bike shop and visit Bubs Brewery Restaurant and have some lunch. Of course, we had to taste the local beer. We stayed at the University of Winona in luxury dorm rooms. It was awesome to stay indoors with a nice cool temperature.

MapMyRide: 90 Miles | 4.5 hours | 18.3 mph (Tail Winds make a big difference)

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The sunrise as we started our day
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Cornfields – This will be a bumper year for corn and soy. Crops are huge so far!
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What goes with corn fields? Ethanol…
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Minnesota is the land of 10,000 lakes
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Can you see the high temp? July 14 – high of 69 degrees!