Want to get the best view of what Nebraska has to offer?
“Take a bike ride,” said Harold Trease, a 1973 graduate of Clearwater Public Schools.
Trease, along with wife, Lynn, traveled the Bike Ride Across Nebraska route that followed the historic Chicago and Northwestern’s cowboy line, June 2 to 8.
The duo maneuvered the first of approximately 385 bicycles through Clearwater, Thursday, June 6, stopping at Neligh’s Riverside Park for an overnight stop.
The couple, who met as students at Kearney State College, have been married 42 years and now reside in Blacksburg, Va.
The pair became involved in cycling after friends encouraged them to give it a try.
“We started in a tandem club in New Mexico,” Lynn said.
The group would go on an outing once a month, mixing exercise with social aspects.
“Riding a tandem bicycle is an acquired taste. Not all couples can do that,” Harold said.
They’ve known couples who split because of it.
“It’s either the bike or a divorce, so they got rid of the bike,” Harold said.
The Treases, though, have found balance on a bicycle built for two.
Lynn said if they each rode singularly, Harold “would be gone.”
“He’s such a stronger rider. This works out well so we can be together,” she said.
The interest in long distance cycling happened by accident.
Harold said friends encouraged them to give it a try, so they studied newspaper articles to learn more about cross country treks.
“How crazy is that. It sounds insane,” Harold said.
Lynn said the individuals who ran tours they’ve participated in won one of the cross country treks.
“It was inspirational,” Lynn said.
Now, the Treases have completed 10 cross country bicycle rides.
“You get to see America,” Harold said.
Lynn added, “You see a lot more on a bike, going slow.”
The change in landscape - desert to the Rocky Mountains, the Plains to the Mississippi Delta to the east coast - is breathtaking.
“It’s really dramatic,” Harold said.
Most of the rides ranged 10 days to two weeks.
The Treases have been involved with bicycle tours across the country and noted differences.
BRAN riders average 60 miles a day. Cross country tours average about 140 miles a day.
“Much more intense,” Lynn noted.
“And still a lot of fun,” Harold said. “You move right along and you’re moving all day.”
Week-long events, like BRAN, are more of a social event.
“A lot of people travel in groups or they know people who get together once a year. It’s neat,” Harold said.
For several years, their son, Henry, joined them on adventures off the beaten path.
At first, they used a three-seat bike, with the youngster riding in a car seat in the middle, so Lynn could talk to him as they traveled.
“Then he grew up and had to be on the back seat, with an audio book. Otherwise, he was too bored,” Lynn said.
The couple trains year-round.
Harold commutes via cycle to Virginia Tech, where he works as a senior research scientist.
Lynn also gets in plenty of seat time.
“You have to train your butt. You have to sit on a bicycle seat enough times to get comfortable with that to sit on that hours and hours out here. Otherwise, it can really cause trouble. You can get to the point where you just can’t ride anymore,” Harold said.
Hands, feet and neck are also sensitive spots for cyclists.
Most cyclists use clips to secure feet on pedals.
Helmets can cause weak spots in neck muscles, especially on cross country trips.
“You’ve got to train all the muscles,” Harold said.
Approximately 25 years ago, BRAN’s route was similar to this year’s Chadron to Fremont venture.
Harold and Lynn tried to enter, but were put on the waiting list, since they resided out of state.
They tried a second time, but spaces filled up.
This time, they made it.
The secret to success, for rides like BRAN, is breaking the ride into segments.
“Bicycling isn’t that tough,” Harold said.
Rest stops are available approximately every 12 to 15 miles.
According to Harold, “Anybody can ride 12 miles. It’s doable, if you break it up into pieces.”