July 17, 2011/ Maria Parker
I was so inspired by the following press release sent to us by David Byrne’s family, I wanted to share it with you.
Finishing World Tour Saturday at Noon!
Ordinary people can do extraordinary things. After cycling around the world for the 2nd time, Amery Wisconsin native David Byrne is pedaling into town with his wife Julie Retka on Saturday, July 23rd at noon. Please come downtown to greet them!
On his first trip, David left on his 18th birthday and cycled around the world (over 26,000 miles) in 2 ½ years. He is completing his 2nd trip this weekend, and has already cycled over 29,000 miles since 4/8/09. He and his wife Julie (who has been on this trip with David) are currently biking south from Hudson Bay in Manitoba, and are now in the United States.
“It’s been incredible” said Julie Retka, a Saint Paul teacher; “The world is not so big and it is filled with wonderful people”. “We’ve acquired a lifetime’s worth of experiences in the past two years” reflected David Byrne, a retired UPS driver; “every day is an adventure.”
When asked if he would do it again after cycling the world in his late teens, David replied “Only if the world needs to be recycled.” Now that he is doing it again his website is www.recyclingtheworld.us . “On my first trip I met only one other long-distance cyclist; on this trip we’ve met, or heard about, many other cyclists doing similar intercontinental adventures. I’m enjoying it more the second time around, too. The equipment has improved and my Cruzbike recumbent is more comfortable. I can carry the panniers below the seat, where the pedals would be on a normal bike. Keeping the weight low and centered makes for a more stable ride. The Cruzbike company is so impressed with our journey that they’ve given Julie a new Quest. To top it off, I’m not going solo this time. I found someone willing to follow me to the ends of the earth”
That first trip took David east through Europe, Asia and North America. On this trip Julie and David cycled around the world from north to south to north. In their first year they followed the Pan-American highway south to Ushuaia at the tip of South America, the world’s southernmost city. After flying from Buenos Aires, Argentina to Cape Town, South Africa they spent a second year on the road cycling the length of Africa north to Morocco. A ferry ride across the narrow Strait of Gibraltar took them to Spain and two months of cycling north through Europe ended in Berlin. They flew back to North America and boarded the train in Winnipeg bound for Churchill, Manitoba “The Polar Bear Capital of the World” on Hudson Bay. But since the road doesn’t go that far north across the tundra, Julie and David disembarked from the 37-hour train ride at the end of the road 275 km (175 mi) south of Churchill. On the last leg of the journey they are cycling from Amery, Manitoba to David’s hometown of Amery, Wisconsin. A group of friends will join David and Julie on the last day of their world tour back home to Saint Paul, Minnesota.
“Bicycles are an earth-friendly mode of transportation, whether you’re going around town or around the world” insists David. “Cycling cures much of what ails us, from combating our obesity epidemic to ending our addiction to oil. When you get to be over fifty you never know which body part will break down next; yet I feel like I’m getting younger every day. I’ve been competing with my younger self and have done better than that young whippersnapper.” Starting in July, 1975 at age 18, David bicycled 42,368 km (26,327 mi) in 29 months. Now at age 54, David and Julie have cycled over 47,000 km (over 29,000 mi) in 27 months. The circumference of the Earth is 40,000 km (25,000 mi).