In the mid-seventies, David circumnavigated the globe on an upright bike as a teenager. In 2009 he set off for another world tour. This time with his wife, Julie. Not only was the route interesting due to north to south to north direction instead of riding to west or east only, but also the combination of bikes was uncommon. Julie rode on a standard upright bike while David rode a Cruzbike recumbent. Although 10 years old, such an expedition is always worth mentioning! Here is their story covered in a press release, and a little interview follows later.
Julie loved her Bridgestone, but finished the last leg of our reCycling the World journey on a Cruzbike Quest. Though she was reluctant to make the switch, she now prefers recumbents.
PRESS RELEASE: After cycling around the world, two Minnesotans returned home Sunday, July 31st, 2011. “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 hundreds of other cyclists doing similar intercontinental adventures. I’m enjoying it more the second time around, too. The equipment has improved (i.e., fewer broken spokes and cables), 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 married 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. They cycled from Amery, Manitoba, to David’s hometown of Amery, Wisconsin on the last leg of the journey. A group of friends joined David and Julie on the final 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 in 29 months. Now at age 54, David and Julie have cycled 48,069 km in 28 months. The circumference of the Earth is 40,000 km (25,000 mi).
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