archival and resource material for human powered recumbent tricycles

90 year old triker pedals 930 miles in 21 days

Bert Blevens 90 year old nomadBert Blevens on his Catrike

90-year-old cycles from Kentucky to Florida

by Ian Cummings

SARASOTA – Most people, when they come to Florida for the fall, buy a plane ticket or maybe drive. But Bert Blevens likes to make things interesting. Blevens chose to make the trip down from Louisville this year by recumbent tricycle, riding 930 miles to arrive in Siesta Key on Friday. That is quite a trip for anyone, but he just turned 90. Still, his wife and children were not too worried: he had done it once before, 10 years ago.

The journey was actually even longer than it sounds. Because cycles like the one Blevens’ rides are not permitted on interstate highways, that meant 21 days of pedaling through back roads, side streets and parking lots to cross Tennessee, Georgia and most of Florida.

Why did he do it? Family members printed T-shirts bearing this quote from Blevens: “If something comes up, try it. The worst thing you can do is fail, and that is not a catastrophe.”

There were no support vehicles following Blevens on the trip, but he was not alone. His son, Kim, accompanied him through the first half, before switching with Blevens’ daughter, Beth Blandford. And Blevens became something of a celebrity as he passed through small towns along the way, doing interviews for local television and stopping to take photos with wedding parties or other bystanders who lined up to meet him.

But for all the high spirits, Blandford said, there were times when she was not sure they were going to make it. (Read about the rest of this incredible overland journey HERE)

Bert Blevens 90 year old nomad 2Bert’s daughter rode with him for a portion of his overland journey.


10 responses

  1. dolanfossil

    Sir, I salute you, Well done.

    September 9, 2014 at 7:18 pm

  2. Cool… one question… what is with the comment, “Because cycles like the one Blevens’ rides are not permitted on interstate highways” ? you mean trikes can’t but bikes can? strange comment.

    September 9, 2014 at 8:34 pm

  3. Randall Oakley

    Sounds odd to me as well. Surely a human powered vehicle is the same no matter the configuration?.

    September 9, 2014 at 10:22 pm

  4. I had another cyclist buddy who knows better than me… he figured it was just a strange phrasing… that any kind of bike is not allowed on the highways back there.

    September 9, 2014 at 10:31 pm

  5. I am confident that the writer must have been referring to all human powered cycles in that statement. Surely, there could be no legal distinction between trikes and bikes that would stand up in court. Here in Oregon, I can legally ride my trike on all the interstate highways, including I-5, with the only exceptions of: Downtown Portland area and a short section through Medford. All else is wide open, and very safe due to massive shoulders that would allow two trikes to ride side by side if desired.

    Hey Glenn, do you know if California allows legal travel of trikes on the interstates, such as I-5 and I-15? If so, I could plan my next ride to mama’s house in soCal on I-5 and really make quick work of it! (compared to the remote route I’ve always taken over the Cascade Range and through the eastern Sierras, which includes Reno)!

    September 10, 2014 at 8:11 am

  6. I think it depends on the area. Here in southern California, there are a few places where you are allowed to cycle on the side of the highway/freeways… but only if there is specific signage allowing it. These are usually determined based on if there is a reasonable route through that is not a major detour. For instance, on the 5 between San Clemente and Oceanside, CA… if the bike access through the Camp Pendleton Marine Base is open, you are supposed to use it I believe, but if it is closed you can ride the shoulder of the 5 there. Also, I think there is a section of the I-10 that you can ride because there is nothing else going through that part of the desert… and a section of the 101 between Carpinteria and Ventura used to allow shoulder riding on the freeway, but they recently built a separated bike path around the section. So I am not sure if the freeway riding in that area is now illegal or not.

    September 10, 2014 at 8:56 am

  7. Interstingly, and perhaps counterintuitively, the freeways are often safer to ride than the work-arounds suggested (or mandated) by our governments, as alternatives frequently include narrow two-lane roads, with little or no shoulder for riding, and blind curves, putting the triker at increased risk. Living on the Oregon coast, I am very familiar with the Washington to California cycling route, and even the Adventure Cycling Association suggests alternatives to Highway 101 here and there that are quite narrow, blind, shoulderless, excessively steep, and with greatly increased mileages.

    September 10, 2014 at 9:38 am

  8. here is a facebook video of the new off street trail around 101. it has its problems where there are off ramps… stuff that needs to be addressed because of visibility and safety issues… but on the whole it is better than shoulder riding and surfing with the big rigs.

    September 10, 2014 at 10:08 am

  9. oh here is a youtube version of the same video if someone is not on facebook:

    September 10, 2014 at 10:22 am

  10. Wow Glenn, now THAT is the way to travel hassle free! Times are a-changin’ finally – slowly perhaps, but at least moving in the right direction for human-powered humans.

    September 10, 2014 at 11:25 am