Chadron State College faculty members Dr. Kurt Kinbacher, Dr. Mary Clai Jones, Markus Jones, and CSC student Jace Demeranville presented the final Graves Lecture of the year Nov. 15 about their cross country bicycling class.
The group presented Crossing the Continent on Two Wheels: The Speed Goat Chronicles about their 70-day journey bicycling from Chadron to Washington D.C., then riding a train from D.C. to Seattle, and bicycling from Seattle back to Chadron.
“There is power in really long, epic journeys and I have to say that by bike scale, this is epic,” Kinbacher said.
Markus Jones described how he got involved in the early stages of the trip.
“I started riding with Kurt and he’s kind of hardcore. So, when he proposed this idea, I said yes, not thinking we would ever do it. And then we did. Somehow, one day after another, you cross the country,” he said.
The group narrated photos of their journey, state by state.
“I enjoyed Nebraska. In terms of the whole trip, it was a great introduction to what the rest of my summer was going to be like. Especially the last day really showed us what Iowa was going to be like,” Demeranville said.
Much of the trip involved biking uphill, despite expectations to the contrary.
“Jace and I counted; it was an average of seven to 10 hills per mile in Iowa. Our third highest climbing day was in Iowa,” Mary Clai Jones said.
Kinbacher described riding through Amish country in Ohio.
“It was amazingly quiet. No leaf blowers, no tractors. A lot of horses and buggies, a lot of electric bikes. Riding through the countryside was just serene. It’s not something you usually experience,” he said.
Markus Jones shared how he and Kinbacher visited monuments in Washington D.C. and explored the National Mall.
“You’re among all these people and covered in mud. You have everything you carry with you on your bicycle, and nobody really cares,” Markus Jones said.
From D.C., the group took a train west to Washington state and biked the final segment east to Chadron. In total, the group biked through 12 states.
“When you cross the state border, it’s different. If you ride up to Wyoming or into a different state, it feels different. Every state had its own character,” Kinbacher said
Mary Clai Jones said the trip challenged her as a bicyclist.
“The longest ride I had ever done before this trip was 50 miles, and on day three we did 87 miles. I think I did it just to see if I could,” she said.
Demeranville shared a few reasons for going on the trip, including his education.
“I did it for a few reasons, mostly because I thought it was cool and I had nothing better to do in the summer, and it also let me get capstone credit with the coolest class that Chadron’s ever offered,” he said.
The Speed Goats are planning to ride again during the summer of 2024, but primarily in Nebraska. Interested bicyclists should contact Kurt Kinbacher firstname.lastname@example.org.