Two UMD grads begin bike trip around the Great LakesClad in bright yellow raingear on a gray, drizzly day, Kris McNeal and Zach Chase got on their bikes Tuesday morning in Duluth, put their feet on the pedals and embarked on a planned three-month, 5,300-mile circumnavigation of the Great Lakes.
By: News Tribune staff, Duluth News Tribune
Clad in bright yellow raingear on a gray, drizzly day, Kris McNeal and Zach Chase got on their bikes Tuesday morning in Duluth, put their feet on the pedals and embarked on a planned three-month, 5,300-mile circumnavigation of the Great Lakes.
The duo’s Big Water Bike trip, traveling a clockwise route around the Great Lakes and as far east as Quebec City, started with a sendoff at the Fitger’s Brewery Complex. A couple dozen friends and supporters gathered to see McNeal and Chase off; a few pedaled with the pair for the first leg of the journey, up Superior Street.
“Thanks for coming; we really, really appreciate it,” McNeal told the assembled crowd. “This is awesome. It means the world to us, and we’re going to leave in happy spirits.”
The two UMD graduates completed a 1,700-mile bike trip on the West Coast in 2008, and when that was over they started thinking about taking a similar journey closer to home. That developed into the Big Water Bike journey.
They plan to ride about 60 miles a day on average, with a target of finishing in Duluth on Aug. 5. On top of the trip being a personal challenge, McNeal and Chase want to draw attention to the Great Lakes region and to cycling. They plan to shoot video footage to create a documentary, and will update their progress on their website, bigwaterbike.com.
The crowd outside Fitger’s gave a round of applause Tuesday as McNeal and Chase went to attach gear trailers to their bikes and head out on the road.
“We’ll see you in August,” McNeal said.