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)