Anderson is “Pedaling for Those Who Can’t!”Prior to this month, the longest bike ride Pike Lake resident and Duluth business owner Roger Anderson had ever been on was 24 miles. And that was in 1980.
By: Sarah Packingham, for the Duluth Budgeteer News
Prior to this month, the longest bike ride Pike Lake resident and Duluth business owner Roger Anderson had ever been on was 24 miles. And that was in 1980.
Now, the nearly 54-year-old is embarking on a bike ride that most people, even avid bikers, would never dream of.
Anderson departed from Key West, Fla., on Feb. 10 and is looking to make his way to Angle Inlet, Minn., which is near Baudette. The journey totals nearly 2,500 miles.
In the first 17 days of biking, he’s made it nearly halfway. His longest day of riding took place in Mississippi where he biked 113 miles, quite a change from the 24-mile ride that took place nearly 32 years ago.
“I always said that I was doing this to get in shape, but the intention was always to do it as a charity event,” Anderson said. “If
I would have gone ahead and solicited people, they might have said it’s not a big deal, or what if I wasn’t physically able to do it?”
Four days into the journey, Anderson announced the motto of his ride, “Pedaling for Those That Can’t!” on his Facebook page “Roger Anderson’s Bike Trip” (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Roger-Andersons-Bike-Trip/294468680613392). He stated that he was looking for donations for various local organizations.
He is raising money for ALS, Amber Wing and the Northern Lights Foundation.
“If just by the novelty of what I’m doing, charities can raise money, then it’s a success,” Anderson said. “If local charities get money from people that typically don’t give money, that’s a good thing.”
Anderson said that he knew this was the right time for him to do the ride event because if he didn’t do it now, odds are he wouldn’t ever do it at all.
“It’s my own personal challenge,” he said. “Why do people run a marathon? It’s no different. Why do they do what they do? It’s a personal challenge.”
He also believes that his ride is unique, as it’s not just a one-day event but a long-term process. It’s a long-term challenge and sacrifice, and he hopes people value that.
Anderson’s ride is not only raising money, but also inspiring others he meets along the journey and those that he’s known for a long time. Even if he had some doubts in the beginning.
His son Anthony, however, never doubted his dad’s ability, but was surprised at his ability to take the time off from work.
“I knew he could do it because of how strong of a dad he is,” Anthony said. “The fact that he is missing all this work is amazing. He really works hard every day of the week, and for him to drop all that and bike across the United States is different, and I think difficult for him, too.
“He is just an extremely hard and determined worker and I think he can carry those skills into doing something amazing like this,” Anthony added.
Each day of the journey is nerve-wracking, Roger said, because there are only 6 inches separating him from the passing traffic.
“There are no shoulders to ride on,” he said.
As scary as that thought is, Anderson is determined to ride on and is getting support from a core group of people with phone calls, text messages and Facebook postings.
“It’s really a personal thing though, and if it doesn’t hit their fancy, so be it. I’m not doing this for someone’s approval,” he said. “The support I have received has been really nice and well appreciated.”
The further north Anderson rides, the likelihood of running into treacherous weather increases. In a journey that started in shorts and a bike jersey, he is now dressed head-to-toe. When weather does get bad, he will stop, return to Duluth and his normal routine and then pick up the remainder of the journey when work and weather allows.
At one point in his travels, a man he met offered to take him up the road about 10 miles by truck, but Anderson refused. When the man questioned him, “Who’s going to know?” Anderson replied that he would know, and that he set out to complete this journey and not cheat himself.
“It’s a personal challenge, and everyone has them in their own way,” Anderson said. “Whatever their challenge is … this is mine.”
More information on Anderson’s journey, donations to local charities and pictures from along the way can be found on the Facebook page created for his ride.
Duluthian Sarah Packingham writes a weekly sports column for the Budgeteer. Contact her at email@example.com.