By Rachel Gross Weinstein
Terry Sigle recently had the ride of his life. In 40 days, he biked 3,382 miles across the United States admiring the scenery and accomplishing a dream he has had for 14 years.
The trip began June 16 in Seattle and ended Aug. 2 in Washington D.C. Sigle raised $7,000 to participate in the ride, hosted by Big Ride Across America with a portion of the proceeds benefitting the American Lung Association.
During the seven-week trip, Sigle and his 10 fellow riders traveled through Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Maryland to finally arrive in D.C.
An avid cyclist, Sigle knew biking across America was something he always wanted to do. He said the most surprising part was the feeling of accomplishment he had when arriving at the National Mall in D.C.
“I had been to D.C. many times before, so I knew exactly where we were going to end,” said Sigle, an Allen resident and member of Congregation Adat Chaverim. “It was emotional because I saw my family at the finish line and it was pure satisfaction. I love biking so much that it was easy for me to get on the bike every day at 5:50 a.m. You take it day by day and before you know it, it’s over.”
Sigle began training in January and rode about 2,700 miles to prepare for the ride. He did a combination of indoor stationary cycling and rode his bike around different parts of Allen.
The riders logged anywhere from 55 to 110 miles on any given day and also had eight rest days along the way, giving them time to explore, talk to locals and relax their bodies. Two of the highlights for Sigle were visiting Little Big Horn in Wyoming and Gettysburg in Pennsylvania.
Each night, they slept in campgrounds, high school gyms, athletic centers and college dorms. Sigle said the most challenging part for him was the stretch from Wisconsin to Ohio riding 550 miles in six days, but being able to see the country in this way was incredible.
“I didn’t expect to see as many amazing things across the U.S. that I saw,” he said. “The Black Hills in South Dakota was one of the most beautiful spots we went to. I had never been to the Appalachian Mountains before, so we climbed over Mt. Davis in Pennsylvania and that was really awesome. Everything from Seattle to the mountains of Montana and Idaho was just spectacular.”
Another aspect that made this experience so meaningful for Sigle is that his parents, wife and youngest daughter took part in the beginning of the trip in an RV.
Sigle is sad his adventure is over, but the memories he made and the friendships he developed with the other riders will be etched in his mind forever. He also kept a blog throughout the excursion where he posted photos and gave a firsthand account of what happened each day.
Bike riding has always been a spiritual experience, Sigle said. He is grateful to have participated in this and knows that it’s easy to achieve something you put your mind to.
“One thing I have been telling people is for them to find something special they have always dreamed to do and just do it,” Sigle added. “Don’t overanalyze anything. I spent 14 years thinking about this and the sense of accomplishment I had at the end was the greatest feeling. I remember every moment of the ride and it was amazing.
To learn more about Sigle’s experience, visit his blog at www.terrysbigride.wordpress.com.