Melbourne cyclist home after 47-day ride — 3,800 mil | Senior-life

 When most people travel from one coast of the United States to another, they usually do so via plane, or perhaps by car or train. Jim Wright, on the other hand, travels by bicycle.

The 73-year-old Melbourne resident wound his way from Portland, as in Oregon, to Portland, as in Maine, during a 47-day bike ride that began June 1 and ended July 16.

That is a lot of pedaling, as Wright will acknowledge when he discussed the daily grind of the trip.

“I started each day at 5:30 a.m. to prepare for the day’s ride,” he said.

Every morning, he had to pack bags, pump up tires, mount bike lights, set up the route computer and go through the day’s briefing with the Trek Travel guides that arranged the trip for the group of 22 riders. The first stop took place after 20 miles of cycling.

“There, I top off water in my water bottle and consume a few snacks; and repeat this trek about two more times until lunch,” he said.

After lunch, Wright had two or three more 15- to 20-mile rides before arriving at lodgings for the night. Here, Wright would eat, relax, update the running blog he kept of the journey and then get ready to start all over again.

“This scenario was the same nearly every day, except for the four rest days,” he added.

The retired engineer, who averaged 100 miles per day for the trip, took up the challenge at an age when many of his contemporaries prefer to exercise aboard a golf cart.

Cycling such long distances requires training, stamina and experience, all of which Wright has in abundance. He has been pedaling for 35 years, cycling an average of 150 miles per week locally on trips that may take him from Titusville to as far as Sanford.

Working with a personal trainer at Club Performax also helped him hone his cycling — and endurance — skills. Despite all the preparations, Wright found some of America a hard road to ride.

“The climbs through the mountains were much tougher than I expected,” he said.

When Wright’s son, David, was 12 years old, the two joined a group of 2,000 people who pedaled 2,000 miles in the year 2000. The adult David rode with his father for the last leg of the Portland-to-Portland ride.

“I was excited to join my dad for part of his adventure and get a flavor of what he’s been doing for the last six weeks,” David Wright said.

When asked if he plans a repeat performance, Wright is quick to answer.

“I am very pleased to have done this, but I see little reason to repeat this,” he said.

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