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Why I Ride: Kelsey Gibson

WHY I RIDE: A series that gets to the heart of why we love what we do. This week, Kelsey reflects on how it isn’t always where you go, but who’s there with you.

I ride to spend time with friends and simply to have fun! I believe riding brings out the best in people and gives you the chance to really get an authentic feel for a place. For me, some of my favorite memories on a bike so far have not been where I have gone but who I’ve gone with. It could be a leisurely 7-mile ride around town or a challenging ride in an area you’ve never been before. Either way, no matter how far, how difficult, or where you go, it’s who you go with that makes it a wheelie fun time!

Why I Ride: Dave Burke

WHY I RIDE: A series that gets to the heart of why we love what we do. This week, Dave recounts time spent on two wheels with his family as a child and how his passion for cycling remains strong to this day.

I have been on a bike since before I could walk, not riding of course. My joy of biking started out sitting in a bike seat on the back of my mom’s bike while my dad and brothers rode alongside. We would spend weekends exploring the gravel trails of the Illinois Prairie Path, stopping along the way for ice cream.

Surprisingly, I can’t recall learning to ride a bike. I do have memories of riding my red mountain bike, or my brothers’ cool BMX bikes. When I was about 12, my passion for cycling grew when my grandfather handed down his 1987 Trek Elance. He was getting older and he moved on to recumbent bikes, and golfing. After riding mountain and BMX bikes for so long, I was fascinated that a bike with skinny tires and drop-down handlebars could go so fast. I spent countless summer days riding that bike as far as my legs would take me, again exploring the trails of the Prairie Path I had seen from the back seat of my mom’s bike.

It was only until I moved to Madison that I realized the joy of riding a road bike on the road. Who knew how much faster you can ride on a smooth surface? I still love riding my sparkly blue Elance. I didn’t have many chances to ride with my grandfather when he was alive, but riding his bike somehow makes me feel like I am riding with him.

Recently, I have upgraded to a 2018 Trek Domane SLR 6. I enjoy the road riding, but I can’t resist going back to my roots of gravel riding. The Domane is a little smoother and faster than the Elance on the gravel paths.

I ride my bike to explore destinations that would take too long to reach by foot, and those that are not accessible by car. I ride to have the wind in my face and the sun on my shoulders. I ride to reach new speeds and personal bests. I ride because it the only exercise I can enjoy getting up for, early on a Saturday morning. Most of all, I ride because it is what I knew even before I could walk, and I haven’t been able to stop.

The Ultimate Game Changer

Why are some “scripts” so hard to change?

Words by Nora Linville, Trek Travel Guest

Two years ago I began training for the Trek Travel 2015 Cross Country USA trip from Portland to Portland to commemorate turning 60 when I discovered I have a heart arrhythmia. All is well, but a ride that strenuous is not in the cards. So I booked the May 2016 Croatia and Dalmatian Coast trip instead. Six months before the ride I tore my MCL and was off the bike for four months. I went on the trip knowing I wasn’t in peak shape for the route profile, but thought I’d be okay with simply riding as much as I could.
Trek Travel Croatia and Dalmatian Coast Bike Tour
As it turns out, I wasn’t ok with it at all. My internal “script” says I must ride every mile, even if it’s killing me. So I had three options:
Option 1: Continue to be miserable.
Option 2: Ride in the van to the top of each climb. No way, not me.
Option 3: Ask if one of the e-bikes was available. Heck no, that’s cheating!

Consequently, I was so stressed it was ruining my cycling vacation of a lifetime. One morning, our awesome guide informed me that an e-bike was available, so I decided to grow up and take advantage of the gift being offered. Whoo weee, what a blast! These bikes are amazing! You still get a great workout using your own pedal power, but the boost is available when you just need that extra oomph. And to think I almost let my pride get in the way of a fantastic experience.

I had to have one of my own, so I used the Trek Travel discount coupon and purchased the Trek XM700+. It’s a game changer for me and I absolutely LOVE it. I can now comfortably do climbs that I would otherwise struggle with and also use it to commute to work at 27 mph.
Trek Travel Electric-Assist Bikes

Available at no additional cost.

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Meet Our Team: Marcel Peeperkorn

Marcel Peeperkorn has always embraced a transient lifestyle. From Johannesburg to Shanghai, London to Boston, Marcel has lived and worked in many regions around the world. But no matter his location, the bicycle has always remained a constant. And it was his search for simplicity in this ever-changing world that led him to Trek Travel.

Tell us your story. How did you end up at Trek Travel?
After many years working professionally as an architect, completing an MBA, and working in consulting, interior design and property development, I was searching for a different way of living and existing. I was determined to find a way to earn money in a world that demands so, while sharing in something I care about greatly–the bicycle. The bicycle has always been in the background, it is my meditation where I can forget about everything going on, and a place where I can reflect and consider life. It is both simple and complex, a tool for exploring mentally and physically.

Tell us about your favorite ride.
It is impossible to answer in a singular, as each ride is different and gives something different. From dark stormy mornings to beautiful sunny days and midnight commutes through the city, each ride offers something special in different quantities to mind, body and soul.

A ride that I’ll always remember was my first Cape Argus Cycle Tour, one of the first races I ever entered. It stands out more for completing than anything else. Hitting a car in training the week before, and battling wind gusts of 100km/h that sent fences and portaloos flying, let alone the riders! Completing that day was rewarding enough!
Trek Travel guide Marcel Peeperkorn rides Cape Argus Cycle Tour
What is the best view you’ve seen from the seat of a bike?
Most likely the next one, wherever that may be! If I had to answer the question, I’d say the most impressive view to date was riding through the Chinese New Year fireworks in Shanghai.

When you’re not guiding, what are you doing?
If I’m not on the bike I will be exploring new places/food/drink and always reading, topics that interest me specifically are Philosophy, Economics, Psychology, and Sociology. I do enjoy the finer things in life but to be happy simply. I don’t need more than good company, bread, cheese, wine or beer, coffee with a book, and a bike to explore the world. I live life by a simple philosophy of “better,” inward and outward, for myself and to the world.

What excites you most about the opportunity to show people the world from the seat of a bike?
To show people where their body can take them, and what they discover about themselves while moving under their own mental and physical strength.

What is one thing people should know, but don’t, about being a Trek Travel guide?
We are all very different with different approaches, outlooks and philosophies toward life but share a love for the bicycle and the variety of things that it shows and teaches us.
Meet Trek Travel guide Marcel Peeperkorn

Join Marcel in Ireland this summer!

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Meet Our Team: Grace Heimsness

A new guide for Trek Travel, Grace Heimsness is saying yes to the life she’s always dreamed of. Leaving the comfort of the familiar for the allure of something new is never easy. “I keep waiting for someone to jump out from behind a tree or from the bottom of a slot canyon, punch me in the back of the head, and shout, ‘Gotcha! Go home.'” But there’s beauty in the possibility of finding a new home.

Tell us your story. How did you end up at Trek Travel?
A few years ago, I was a wrench at a local mom ‘n pop bike shop in my hometown when one day our sales rep dropped off a few Trek Travel brochures. I picked it up, thought “Wow, that would be my dream job,” and put it in my back pocket–literally as well as figuratively. It was around the same time that I typed the sentence, “Home is whom you hang your thoughts on.” It was a nice thought, but just that. I wasn’t yet ready to live it, to leave the safety of that familiar hook on which I hung my jersey, to ride without the company of Jerry and Jens and Greenie and the rest of them.

Two years later, I was working as an arts nonprofit administrator and aching to be outside discovering the world instead of hearing about it from a desk. I applied, but didn’t expect to make it to the interview stage, forget receiving a job offer. I was that kid who cried on the first day of summer camp. I was also that kid who cried on the last day of summer camp. Deep and quick attachment is my forte and my fault, and I’ve done my best to live a life that leans least on the discomfort of personal—and personnel—changes. But over the last six months, I have fallen hard for the truth that has for so long been fighting to burn in me. I am ready to live that sentence, ready to hang my jersey on a new hook each night, to burn my legs up on climbs that leave you breathless, to work harder than I’ve ever done in my life in order to give people experiences they’ll never forget.
Trek Travel Bryce and Zion Utah Bike Tour
As a kid, what did you think you’d be when you grew up?
I was absolutely certain I was going to be a writer. I started writing stories in the fourth grade and just never stopped. I still write when I can–my blog and personal essays, mostly. Now well into my 20s, I can say with that same certainty that I want to be a writer in some capacity, regardless of how grown up I am.

When you’re not guiding, what are you doing?
Sleeping! Really though, I like to update my blog when I have a chance, read, maybe catch a re-run of Seinfeld or work on my Netflix queue. I love making dinner with my co-guides at the guide house and starting random dance/karaoke parties, usually simultaneously. Dancing and cooking go well together.

What is one thing people should know, but don’t, about being a Trek Travel guide?
How much you trust and depend on your co-guide for almost everything–not only on-trip, but also in your non-guiding life. This goes far beyond the logistical or practical; being out in the field and away from home for so long throws you into a sort of alternate universe, and your co-guide is the one person who understands completely the unique challenges this situation can introduce to your relationships and lifestyle. It’s a powerful bond and can teach you a lot about communication, commitment, and trust. This immediate bond with my co-guides has been probably the loveliest surprise, for me.
Meet Trek Travel new guide Grace Heimsness
Tell us about your favorite ride.
That’s a tough one. I’d have to say the last day of our Bryce & Zion trip, a simple out-and-back up the canyon of Zion National Park to the Temple of Sinawava. It’s stunning–six or so miles of the Virgin River wend alongside the park road as you make your way up-canyon, the morning is calm and cool, and there’s this incredible morning light shining onto peaks like the Court of the Patriarchs. With 800 feet of climbing, it’s just enough to take the itch out of your legs and give you a great start to the day. And if you’re ever looking for some perspective on life, staring up at 2,000 vertical feet of petrified sand dunes that have existed for 200 million years is one way to find it.

What is your favorite view from the seat of a bike?
I love seeing my hometown from the seat of my bike. I’ve seen a few incredible places by bike and I’d love to see a whole bunch more, but there’s something about cruising down Main Street at dusk, waving at old friends and “checking in on the neighborhood,” that makes me sublimely happy.

What excites you most about the opportunity to show people the world from the seat of a bike?
I’m really stoked every time we roll into a place that I know will make our guests Ooh and Ah. It’s so satisfying to be the person who introduces someone to an entirely new setting, one beyond what they even imagined, and to watch them react. A lot of guests become kids again, in a way—sometimes you can see, if you really look, what they might have been like as an 8-year-old. It brings you back to when you saw this place for the first time, and it’s awesome to think about the fact that our guests will remember their first moments in this place forever, and that you were the one who got to share that with them.
Trek Travel Bryce and Zion National Parks Bike Tour

Join Grace in Crater Lake this summer!

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Meet Our Team: Trevor Pickard

An air traffic controller, professional wedding photographer, motorcycle aficionado, and Ironman triathlete, Trevor Pickard isn’t just a Trek Travel guide. He’s proof that you can make a living while making a life, that you can turn your passion into your profession, and that it’s better to go all in than wonder what might have been.

Tell us your story. How did you end up at Trek Travel?
That’s quite a question to answer. I graduated from the aeronautic Air Traffic Control program at Middle Tennessee State in 2011 at the age of 21, but couldn’t hold a federal aircraft dispatch license until the age of 23 due to federal regulations. So I pursued my passion for photography and focused my attention on further establishing myself as a wedding photographer in the Southeast region. After saving up for a couple of years working odd-end jobs, I backpacked throughout Europe during the summer of 2013. Visiting 9 counties and 21 cities gave me exposure to many cultures and environments that ignited my interest in further engaging with the people and places that surround me. Coming back to the States and working full-time aviation jobs in Southern California, and later Northern Florida, I knew I needed life experiences outside of the corporate grind. And this is where Trek found me!

As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Simple. I thought I’d be one of two things: roller coaster designer or test car driver for an automobile magazine.

Tell us about your favorite ride.
My love for two wheels started with motorcycles. Even though I have a fully custom Harley, which I built from the ground up, my first love is a 1996 Honda Rebel 250cc that I bought after saving up money working as a lifeguard during the summer after high school. She’s a two-tone red and white beauty that runs like a sewing machine down the road. I’ve put 25,000 miles on her and she isn’t worth much more than beer allowance during spring break, but nothing puts a bigger smile on my face and for that, I’ll never get rid of her.
Trek Travel guide Trevor Pickard
When you’re not guiding, what are you doing?
Simplicity is key for me. Traveling on my Harley with a pair of running shoes and a camera wrapped around my neck would boil down my logic. I enjoy training for Ironman triathlons, trail-running, anything on two wheels, and good conversation over a few fingers of bourbon and a good cigar.

What is one thing people should know, but don’t, about being a Trek Travel guide?
What an intimate setting Trek Travel offers. Not only on the bike but the moment you step off the pedals as well. From the amazing backgrounds of guests to the passionate guides in the field, it truly is an experience of a lifetime.
Trek Travel guide Trevor Pickard in Grand Teton National Park
What is your favorite view from the seat of a bike?
The brand new bike path connecting Jackson Hole, Wyoming to Teton Village and Grand Teton National Park. I worked in Jackson during a summer in college but never experienced the Yellowstone environment quite like I have now: one pedal stroke at a time.

What excites you most about the opportunity to show people the world from the seat of a bike?
The allure of traveling and being engaged with my surroundings is terribly exciting. Everything else falls into place from there.
Trek Travel Guide Trevor Pickard

Join Trevor on our Cross Country USA trip!

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Why I Ride: Grant Curry

Most of us won’t remember what we did on May 21, 2016. But for Trek Travel guest Grant Curry, that spring Saturday will be forever remembered as the day he completed a 4 day, 400 mile ride through the Blue Ridge Mountains to celebrate 40 years of living with Diabetes. And as he pedaled alongside the Chattahoochee River into the small town of Helen, Georgia, not only had he successfully completed his Ride40, but he had also raised $40,000 for Diabetes Training Camp in the process.

Tell us a bit about your background. How long have you been riding bikes?
I’ve been riding bikes since I was quite young, and got on my first road bike around age 11. I was diagnosed with Diabetes at age 8, and as my love of road cycling grew, I found myself struggling more and more with Diabetes management. The tools available weren’t effective back then, particularly prior to 1983 when home blood testing was first being used. I was into many sports as a kid but my ambitions were thwarted by my Diabetes. I stopped cycling by high school, but returned to it about 11 years ago and haven’t stopped pedaling since. I’m far better able to manage my Diabetes and exercise these days, with the help of continuous glucose monitoring, rapid acting insulin and pump therapy. Those things, combined with an excellent knowledge base for Diabetes and exercise, have enabled me to find a very active and fulfilling life with my illness.

Trek Travel guest Grant Curry raises $40,000 for Diabetes Training Camp

What was your inspiration behind Ride40?
My inspiration for Ride40 started about two years ago when I began really looking at how much my life with Diabetes had changed over the last few years and I was coming up on a milestone of living with Diabetes for 40 years. I wanted to celebrate my life and all of the challenges I’ve had along the way. It became an opportunity for me to share the gifts that a life with Diabetes has brought me. It may be tremendously difficult to live with but it has also helped me become a better person, a better friend, and has brought me a community of amazing people to share my life with. Living with Diabetes has made me resilient. I wanted to spread the message that people with Diabetes CAN lead active and fulfilling lives and there’s a place to learn how called Diabetes Training Camp.

Why did you choose a bike ride as your fundraising method?
Because cycling is my favorite sport and riding a bike is the closest feeling I can get to being able to fly. I wanted to do a ride that was harder than any I’d done in the past. I trained hard for Ride40. I’m not a competitive cyclist but love to ride for the challenge of it. I’m not a gifted climber but have a passion for it nonetheless. I chose to raise scholarship funding for Diabetes Training Camp Foundation because I’ve seen so many adult lives changed through the DTC programs. This was an opportunity to give back to my Diabetes community, to turn obstacles into opportunities. Climbing mountains on a bike is certainly a metaphor for the ups and downs of life.

Why I Ride: Trek Travel guest Grant Curry

What was the most memorable moment of the ride?
The most memorable moment of the ride was heading toward the summit of Mt. Mitchell with my dear friend, Townsend Myers, with whom I’ve done a lot of cycling and have been through many life challenges with. He and I went to Utah with Trek Travel in 2012. My wife, Cynthia, was in the support van behind us with our friend, Carrie Cheadle, inspiring us with music as we clawed our way up in the cold, rain and heavy fog. It was such a difficult day for the team. After making the long descent back to our lodgings, I checked my messages to find out that we had reached our $40k fundraising goal. I’ve never been more proud. My wife, who’s lived with MS for the last 14 years, likes to say, “The more difficult the conditions, the more memorable the ride.” It’s certainly true. She and I rode Utah twice with Trek Travel. Our second trip was challenging with poor weather on three days. But we had one of our most memorable days ever, together on bikes, riding from Boulder, UT to the Powell Point overlook in torrential rain, cold and sleet. The landscape had such a beauty in those conditions. We loved every minute of it, even when we were suffering.

What is the most rewarding part about your volunteer work as an Assistant Cycling Coach at Diabetes Training Camp?
I was a camper for two sessions in 2008, and it changed my life in so many ways. Now, working at Diabetes Training Camp has given me the opportunity to help some of our beginner or novice cyclists develop their skills and find a deeper enjoyment of the sport. I like helping people become more confident on a bike and more confident in their ability to ride with Diabetes. It changes my life to see people come to camp thinking they’re not able to ride well and leave feeling like champions. I want my Diabetes to be something that brings me joy and empowers me to live better. Helping others find the same is what drives me each and every day.

Trek Travel guest Grant Curry Ride40

Why I Ride: Laura Massey

For a group that set out to become the world’s most professional women’s amateur team in the peloton, signing a deal with Laura Massey was a no brainer. In doing so, not only did Drops Cycling Team add an accomplished cyclist–and current British Masters Champion–to their roster, but they also added an incredible leader to their team.

Briefly, tell us your story. How did your cycling career begin?
Well, my main sport used to be rowing. I rowed for my college and university (everyone in Cambridge rows!) and after several years of being relatively average, I decided it was time for a change of sport! I borrowed a road bike from a friend and did about 12 miles around the local lanes–I was knackered but I was addicted! I bought a basic aluminum road bike and started riding with the local Cambridge club. Looking back, I was a total liability–getting dropped on every slight lump and blowing up miles from home, having to be pushed back. But I loved it and kept persevering, doing the mid-week chain-gangs and time trials, and I finally developed some “cycling legs”. I began road racing in 2011/2012 and have been obsessed ever since.
Trek Travel interviews Drops Women's UCI Cycling Team member Laura Massey
What excites you most about the opportunity to race with Drops in 2016?
Being a UCI team means we have the opportunity to race on a world-stage in some pretty iconic races. This is a special opportunity. So special, in fact, that I decided to take a six month sabbatical from work (I am a management consultant in the pharmaceutical industry) to really allow myself to make the most of this opportunity. I am two months into the sabbatical and it is the best decision I ever made. I had to pinch myself on the start-line for the Tour of Flanders! I will be pinching myself again when we line up for the Tour of California next month. I am massively grateful to Bob Varney and everyone at Drops for giving me this opportunity.

Last year you won the British Masters Championship. What are your biggest goals for the upcoming season?
It sounds cheesy but my goal this year is just to enjoy my sabbatical and make the most of this amazing opportunity that I have been given by Drops. I want to get the most out of myself and see what I can achieve and how good a bike rider I can be without the stresses of work. Unlike the last few years (focused on UK racing), this year I don’t have a particular target race or result as this is a whole new level. I’m just going to give it my best shot each time I line up, suffer and see what happens. Last week this attitude got me a Top 20 at the Euskal Emakumeen Bira UCI 2.1 stage race in the Basque country so fingers crossed I can keep improving with more experience.
Drops Women's Road Cyclist Laura Massey Racing in Europe
Who inspires you the most?
It has to be Lizzie Armitstead! Have you seen her legs?! It is inspiring to have a British World Champion who is currently so dominant.

Favorite place you’ve ever ridden and why?
For training, Denia in Spain (near Alicante) is my number one place–perfectly smooth rolling roads, nobody around, sunshine and a unique feel about it. The descent from the Montgo into Denia is magical. I also love the stretch of coastal road between Dartmouth and Kingsbridge in South Devon with its stunning sea/cliff views and aggressive ups and downs.

For racing, the Ardeche in Southern France was the most epic and beautiful race I have done.
Drops UCI Womens Cycling Team

The Pursuit

This summer, David Baldwin and Team Pursuit will embark on a 4,000 mile expedition across the United States to support The Center, a Houston-based not-for-profit agency that promotes the pursuit of choice, growth, and personal independence for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Trek Travel has partnered with Pursuit to offer four ride along opportunities where you can join the fun this summer!


Trek Travel partners with The Pursuit, a charity ride across the United States

How did you become involved in The Center?
My wife Maire and I have been married for 24 years and live in Houston, Texas. Shortly after getting married, we made the difficult decision not to have children. We both knew this would leave a void in our lives, so we went looking for an organization where we could volunteer, and hopefully be a part of a different type of family. We found The Center, and we have both volunteered there for over 20 years. Over the years we’ve done everything from painting classrooms, to planting gardens, to raising money through cookie sales, to hosting The Center’s Christmas Party for the past 15 years (that’s personal our favorite). And over the years, we’ve grown to consider The Center’s residents and clients to be our unique family. Instead of having 2.3 kids, we actually feel like our family is the 450 clients of The Center.

What was your inspiration to ride across the country?
As recently as the 1960’s, 70’s, and 80’s, no one expected individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (“IDD”) to live into their 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s. But due to the success of programs like The Center, most people with IDD are now living full life expectancies. This has come as a surprise to almost everyone, including the families and friends of our clients as well as the government agencies that help support people with IDD. As life expectancies expanded rapidly, families hadn’t planned for this, and government support hasn’t kept pace either. Most of our clients don’t come from wealthy backgrounds, and aren’t able to earn sufficient wages to pay for their housing, food, medical and other costs of daily living, particularly as they enter their “retirement years”. The result is that many organizations across the country, like The Center, are facing a funding crisis and are at risk of going out of business.

I frequently say that The Center is the best thing that has ever happened to Maire and I. But like parenting, we worry a lot about how “our family” is going to make ends meet. One morning I was particularly worried about The Center’s financial challenges, and I couldn’t sleep. So I got out of bed early and got on my bike for a very early morning ride. As I rode, I could feel the stress and worries begin to dissipate and my normal optimistic outlook began to return. Towards the end of the ride, the idea of riding across the country to raise money for The Center and to raise awareness nationally of the pending financial crisis for people with disABILITIES became clearer. I quickly rode home and woke up my wife to share my inspiration and ask for her support. She was “all-in” and that’s how Pursuit was born.

Why did you choose a bike ride as your method of fundraising?
Maire and I started riding bikes casually for exercise and recreation several years ago. We love how friendly people are to bikers and it’s a great way to make new friends. I’ve never met someone on a bike who wasn’t having a good day! Also, over the past several years, I’ve wanted to take time off from my job to go visit the best organizations across the country that do what The Center does. So on that early morning ride to relieve my stress, it all came together. I could dedicate two months to riding across the country, visiting other organizations like The Center, meeting new friends and helping to raise money and awareness to support our neighbors with disABILITIES. As Maire and I started to share our dream/vision with others, our “peloton” started to grow. Today, there are more than 200 volunteers working to make Pursuit a huge success, and with Trek Travel’s help, we’ve created three opportunities for people who enjoy riding to participate in the Pursuit mission as well.

The Pursuit to raise money for Houston-based not-for-profit agency, The Center

In regards to your ride across the U.S., what are you most excited about? What are you most nervous about?
When I was little, my parents used to pack me and my older brother, Bob, into our station wagon and go on “driving vacations”. We usually had our sleeping bags laid out in the back two rows and loved watching the countryside pass by as we made our way to our destination, which was usually a National Park, beautiful lake, or river. Now we fly everywhere we go, and I’ve missed the slower journeys at ground level across the country. Over the past couple of months, I’ve read several books and watched a handful of documentaries about biking across the U.S. They each have a few themes in common: First, the majesty, openness and beauty of the North and Western U.S., from Oregon through the Rockies and into the Midwest. I can’t wait to see and smell these open spaces, mountains, rivers, trees, wildlife, etc. from the seat of a bicycle. Once we get into Minnesota, the terrain changes and we get to experience the Midwestern charm and friendliness of all of the small towns in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. Starting in Minneapolis – St. Paul, we get to ride into some of America’s great cities: Chicago, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and ultimately Washington, D.C. And I get to do it all on a bicycle with old and new friends riding along with me, both in person and with everyone following our journey online.

While the bike journey is clearly the trip of a lifetime, I’m most excited to visit the organizations and people across the country that spend their lives helping our neighbors with disABILITIES. In most of the major cities along our journey, we’ll be visiting some of the best and most unique communities that support people with IDD. I can’t wait to see how their families differ from ours.

This journey isn’t without anxiety though. Trying to raise $11 million in Houston when oil is $35 per barrel is one challenge. And I’ve only done a couple of long rides in my life. Someone recently told me that our Pursuit journey was equivalent to 25 back to back MS 150’s. I’ve done the MS 150 once and almost didn’t make it to work the following Monday! Due to a couple of recent injuries, I’ve not really been able to train as much as I would like. I guess I can “train” as I cross the country! Lastly, I’m scared about leaving my job at a very difficult time for our energy industry. But thank goodness for an incredible group of colleagues who have eagerly agreed to help cover for me while I’m “in Pursuit” of Maire’s and my life mission.

Tell us about your best day on a bicycle.
Shortly after conceiving the idea for Pursuit, I fell off my mountain bike and tore up my knee/leg pretty seriously. For the first couple of weeks following my surgery, I doubted whether I’d ever return to cycling. About three weeks after the surgery, I got on an exercise bike and I turned the crank the full 360 degrees. It was one of the best feelings of my life! As my recovery continued, I asked my doctor and rehab coach if they would allow me to try to ride in a bike ride from Telluride to Gateway, Colorado, a trip I had planned with 25 friends well before my accident. The ride was scheduled for four months following my surgery and seemed highly improbable, maybe even unwise. But I had a goal to train for and it made my recovery speed by. Last September, on a perfect early fall Saturday, I joined my 25 friends in forming an amazing paceline across beautiful Colorado through mountains, farmland, and into the Red Rock Canyons of Western Colorado. The glory of riding with 25 friends for a good cause, on a beautiful day, has me so excited about Pursuit!

Trek Travel joins David Baldwin in his Pursuit to raise money for The Center

Why I Ride: Grace Heimsness

On the first birthday Joe Strommer didn’t have, his dad walked into the shop with one of the dogs and a dozen doughnuts. It had been four months since Joe’s suicide, and what had been a brutal winter was just beginning to thaw.

The dog, immediately familiar with the worn wood of the shop floor, curled up in the corner as Erv passed around our surprise breakfast and sat heavily on a stool. He wasn’t a big man, but he was an old man with a hunched back and poor vision, and a terrible driver; Joe used to joke with us about how his pops was going to kill him one of these days. We continued to work on morning repairs, steady but unhurried, while Erv began to talk.

Joe was a year-round regular at the shop, which is saying something in Minnesota. While he towered over most of us at well over six feet tall, more often than not he could materialize quietly in front of you, as if out of nowhere. He’d ride through each winter on a massive 29er and sail through the less bitter seasons on a singlespeed. Although he bought a Domane from us in 2011 or ’12, I don’t remember him ever joining us on a shop ride—he preferred instead to ride alone.
Trek Travel guide Grace Heimsness previously worked at Rydjor Bike Shop
But his style of riding didn’t matter to us so much as his love of turning the pedals. His was the sort of company you appreciate in the long off-season and wish you could slow down enough to enjoy in the summer. On season and off, he’d often bring us doughnuts in the morning or beer in the afternoon, and in the latter case he’d wait until we closed for the day so we could all sit down and talk about nothing in particular. His smile was easy, if crooked, and we happily matched it.

While Joe could be quiet when he came to keep us company, his was the sort of silence you didn’t mind. And maybe it ran in the family; on those occasions his dad accompanied him to the shop, Erv was more often than not content to sit back for the duration of their visit, saying nothing, only bending over now and then to untangle dog leashes. But this April morning, Erv had something to say. It started with a single story, one yarn piling on top of the other, until it became a sort of eulogy meant just for us. It was what we had been waiting for while dealing with the shellshock that is the unreasonable loss of a close friend, and the overdue realization that a customer is more than just that. If only for a moment, Erv brought Joe back to us.

I never had the chance to ride with Joe Strommer, but I have no doubt what he looked like in the saddle. On the Easter Sunday before he died, we passed each other mid-ride, neither of us stopping long enough to trade pleasantries. We only saluted each other with a crooked grin and one hand reaching into the expanse of asphalt between us, open palms raised. It was one of the first calm days of spring, and we both knew without saying that there’s no good reason to stop when it’s warm enough to keep going. I’d never seen Joe look happier.

For awhile after his death, I regretted not stopping to talk to Joe that day. But when Erv stopped by that April morning to give us breakfast and leave us with a piece of Joe that we could hold onto, I remembered the importance of an early spring bike ride in Minnesota. I understood that Joe and I had passed each other knowing that, even more than the world, we ourselves are best seen from the seat of a bicycle. And I understood that that was enough.
At Trek Travel, we believe the world is best seen from the seat of a bike
Grace Heimsness is a first-year guide for Trek Travel. Join her in Utah this Spring»


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What is the Difference?

Ultimate Luxury:

Savor some of the most spectacular, 5-star properties in the world. Exuding luxury and elegance, these one-of-a-kind accommodations offer the chance to rejuvenate at award-winning spas, dine at Michelin-starred restaurants, and more.


Enjoy luxurious accommodations handpicked for a refined experience. From signature spa treatments to delicious local cuisine, you’ll be more than provided for; you’ll be pampered.


These handpicked hotels provide relaxation and fun in a casual and comfortable environment. Delicious cuisine and great service mix perfectly for a memorable stay.


On select cycling vacations, you’ll stay at a mix of Explorer and Luxury hotels. Rest assured, no matter which hotel level you’re at, our trip designers carefully select every accommodation.

Activity Level

Level 1:

Road: 1-3 hours of riding. Up to 25 mi (40 km). Up to 1,000 ft (300 m).

Gravel: 1-3 hours of riding. Up to 20 mi (35 km). Up to 1,000 ft (300 m).

Hiking: 1-3 hours of hiking. Up to 5 mi (8 km). Up to 1,000 ft (300 m).

Level 2:

Road: 2-4 hours of riding. 20-35 mi (35-60 km). Up to 2,500 ft (750 m).

Gravel: 2-4 hours of riding. 15-30 mi (25-45 km). Up to 2,000 ft (300 m).

Hiking: 2-4 hours of hiking. 4-8 mi (6-12 km). Up to 1,500 ft (450 m).

Level 3:

Road: 3-5 hours of riding. 25-55 mi (40-85 km). Up to 4,500 ft (1,500 m).

Gravel: 3-5 hours of riding. 20-40 mi (35-60 km). Up to 3,000 ft (900 m).

Hiking: 3-5 hours of hiking. 6-10 mi (9-16 km). Up to 2,000 ft (600 m).

Level 4:

Road: 4+ hours of riding. 40-70 mi (60-110 km). Up to 8,000 ft (2,400 m).

Gravel: 4+ hours of riding. 30-50 mi (45-80 km). Up to 4,000 ft (1,200 m).

Hiking: 4+ hours of hiking. 7-15 mi (11-24 km). Up to 4,000 ft (1,200 m).

What are your trip styles?

Classic - Reserve:

Savor the finer things as you relax in luxurious 5-star accommodations and wine, dine, and ride in some of the most unforgettable destinations around the world.

Classic - Signature:

Explore beautiful destinations by bike, enjoy extra inclusions, savor delicious local cuisine, and enjoy the perfect mix of accommodations.

Classic - Discover:

Enjoy a casual cycling vacation with fantastic routes and comfortable accommodations.

Ride Camp:

Train like the pros in some of their favorite riding destinations.

Pro Race:

See the pros in action at the biggest cycling events of the year.

Cross Country:

Tackle an epic adventure that takes you point-to-point across mountains, countryside, and more.


Enjoy a bike tour on your schedule with just your chosen travel companions.

Single Occupancy

Sometimes it’s more convenient and comfortable to have your own room while on vacation. We understand and that’s why we offer a Single Occupancy option. The additional price guarantees a private room all to yourself