Alex’s Heroes

Twelve months before she placed the back tire of her Trek bike in the Pacific Ocean, Jan Lewis of Summerville started training to fulfill a dream of riding 3,460 miles across America. Initially she rode her bicycle 20–40 miles per week, but eventually increased to around 150 before the start of her adventure.

I met Jan on a Coastal Cyclist ride, months after her 12 month training started. Finding it hard to ride with her and carry on a conversation, I fell back in the pack and spoke with Norm, her husband. He was proud and eager to tell of her plans. Last Saturday(about a year after we met), we crossed paths again.

She shared the story of her 43-day trip with me. It started on May 9th with 20 others riding from the Pacific Ocean, through the desert, over the Rocky Mountains, across the Great Plains, over the Appalachian Mountains, past trucks and speeding cars, to the shining Atlantic Ocean outside Boston. For 11 consecutive days, she averaged over 90 miles a day. Pretty amazing for a lady who turned 66 on Route 66. What a birthday party she had with her fellow riders that evening.

But it wasn’t all a piece of cake. Most days she was the last one to make it back to the motel, at times an hour after the others had arrived. But she continued on, often alone. The day before the final ride to Boston, she approached the motel to find other riders waiting for her, clapping and cheering. The fondest memories were of friendships she formed along the way.

She had the support of family, friends, the Summerville riding group and Cross Roads, the touring company that organized the trip. Would she do it again? Absolutely. When she finished, she said, “I was so pumped I could have ridden back across the country.”

She never dreamed she’d ride over 100 miles a day for five days in a row, but she did. She hopes it will encourage others to get off the sofa, set a goal and enjoy doing it. She wants others to know they can do things like this even as they get older. Have many dreams, pick one as a goal, make a plan and persevere. Have fun!

Here’s a toast to Jan Lewis, one of my heroes!

Posted: October 9th, 2010 under Uncategorized.


Comment from Karen Graham
October 9, 2010 at 1:40 am

Jan is an amazing lady!

Comment from pam lamm
October 9, 2010 at 11:30 am

I am so in awe of your glorious trek!

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