Duluth man pedaling for those who can’t

Duluth man pedaling for those who can’t
By KEVIN BOWDEN
Staff Reporter
Roger Anderson of Duluth, Minn., has taken a few days off from work to go on bicycle trip.
But not just any trip.
He is pedaling his way from Key West, Fla., (the southernmost point of the continental United States) to Angle Inlet, Minn. (the northernmost point in the country).
The 53-year-old Ander-son began his trip Feb. 10,  worked his way north up the Sunshine State and on Tuesday night he rolled into Union City.
“I average about 70 miles a day now,” Anderson said as he relaxed in the lobby of the local Hampton Inn Wednesday morning. “The longest I’ve gone in a day is 113 miles and the shortest distance I’ve gone is 16 miles … bad weather.”
Well, Anderson ran into a little more bad weather as he prepared to leave Union City Wednesday morning, but he was undaunted.
He planned to hit the road by midday, after storms were predicted to blow out of the area, and expected to make it across the Mississippi River on the Hickman-Dorena Ferry. From there, he planned to travel north to St. Louis.
In 19 days, Anderson said he has traveled 1,313 miles.
He will take a brief break after a day’s ride Sunday and will resume his journey by April 1.
“This is the first time I’ve ridden a bike in 33 years,” he said with a smile.
It was 33 years ago that he took a 24-mile bike ride.
Now he is more than halfway through a 2,500-mile trip.
“It’s not a race … there’s no schedule,” Anderson said.
“I did no training whatsoever for this trip. I just bought the bike and got on it,” he said.
He had actually considered an west-east trip from Portland, Ore., to Portland, Maine, along Highway 2, but the weather conditions for that trip prompted him to consider a less snowy route across the country.
Anderson owns a construction company in northern Minnesota.
When one of his friends was diagnosed with ALS and went from a 16-hour-a-day worker to having to use a feeding tube in a six-month period, that inspired him to tackle the bike ride.
ALS, which stands for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and is also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, affects the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord that control voluntary muscle movement.
Anderson has set up a Facebook page (Roger Anderson’s Bike Trip) where visitors can track his progress and can also link to an ALS website as well as websites for Amber Wing, a mental health facility for youth, and Northern Lights, a facility that works with chronically ill children.
The theme for his bicycle ride is “Pedaling For Those Who Can’t.”
Anderson doesn’t have any sponsors for his journey, but is hoping people will check out his Facebook page and will link to the three websites. Through that, Anderson hopes to build awareness and raise money for his causes.
Back in Duluth, Anderson’s construction company is working on Amber Wing.
There is a photo on his Facebook page showing him standing next to the buoy in Key West identifying the southernmost tip of the continental United States. Anderson said there are hundreds of supporters following his journey on Facebook.
Beyond the altruistic reasons behind his journey, Anderson said there have been some health benefits. He began his trip weighing 250 pounds, but said he is burning between 4,000 and 5,000 calories a day.
Staff Reporter Kevin Bowden may be contacted by email at kmbowden@ucmessenger.com.

Published in The Messenger 3.2.12

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