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Sunday, April 27, 2014

Interview with Long Distance Biker, Ruth Kee | Part 1 of 2

By Megan Maxwell
Ruth Kee is a long-distance biker from Chicago. She graduated from the Ohio State University and works in accounting.  She normally prefers traveling abroad, but last summer she took a bike trip to rediscover her own country.  I had a chance to talk to her about her travels and biking in the first of this 2 part interview.

ruth biking.jpg
photo: Meredith Kee

Q: First of all, where did you go on your bike trip? Where did you start, finish, how many miles was it, and how long did it take you?
A: I attempted to bike cross country. I biked from Fort Stevens, Oregon to close to the Iowa/Minnesota/Wisconsin corner and had an accident that stopped me from finishing. We, my sister, boyfriend and I, biked 1500 miles and it took us six weeks with many stops and diversions along the way.

Q: What sort of preparation did you do before your bike trip? Is there anything you didn't do that you wish you would have?
A: I have biked a few summers as a camper with TeenTreks and was a counselor, so I was used to long bike trips, as they run lots of two week trips for high school students. I did not train prior to this trip, but think it would have been helpful.

Q: You had previous long-distance biking experience. Is this sort of trip feasible for someone with little or no biking experience?
A: Yes! As a counselor and first time camper I have run into many people who are new to this. If you plan ahead and are willing to learn, this is something anyone can do.

photo: Ruth Kee

Q: What sort of skills would you suggest a prospective biker learn before departing on a long-distance bike trip?
A: Learn how to fix your own bike. The very basics are to change your tire, adjust your brakes and patch your bike tube.

Q: Did you follow any specific route or did you just go wherever you felt like?
A: We stuck mainly to a cross country path from Adventure Cycling Association, but did take our own route to Yellowstone, Minneapolis, and we were heading to my family farm in Mt. Carrol, Illinois. The routes do meet each other a few places, so you can use their maps to make a variety of trips to suit you. [Ruth and her fellow bikers, sister Meredith and boyfriend Nik- image via Meredith Kee]

Ruth and her fellow bikers, sister Meredith and boyfriend Nik
Q: Did you meet other bikers doing the same trip or were you the only crazy on the road?
A: We met LOTS of bikers when we were on the Adventure Cycle paths, but really not any when we were off on our own paths.

Q: What sort of mileage did you do every day? Could you do more once you were farther into your trip?
A: We did about 60 miles a day. This really changed depending on whether we were going over mountains or how strong the wind was.

Check back soon for Part 2 of our interview with Ruth Kee.