Older Gentlemen and Their Bikes-Part 2 – The Ukiah Daily Journal

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By Bob Frassinello

… ..Pedal Pushers Online- 2009, by Darren Dencklau. “Trans America past sixty”

“The siren’s allure of cycling across the United States is appealing to most who spend a lot of time in the saddle. And while many cyclists consider it, most won’t try it, let alone actually do. Making the trip requires serious dedication, conditioning, and most importantly, a lot of time, something that most of us just don’t get enough of. The physical challenge is intimidating for athletes in their prime, and many people would not consider attempting it long after their “prime” years. Or would they do it? After all, once a person retires, they have plenty of time to do whatever they want. Right?”

The parts of Bob’s Story that follow include details about the pedal lifter (**).

In 2007, Bob Frassinello began planning a TransAm ride with a friend, Mack Ford for an unassisted trip from Oregon to Virginia. The more the ride was discussed, the more it was agreed that it should be attempted. Don Stipp was also enlisted in the “Allure Libre” merry-go-round, or at his own pace.

The planning was quick, and by June 2008, all three riders were ready to go. The plan was designed to accommodate the endurance of “Mature” runners. Don had a pickup with an 18 ‘trailer that would serve as the cornerstone of a successful trip. Each day two cyclists cycled 50 to 70 miles while the driver drove and set up camp. It could be mentioned that all three riders neglected to train for this ride, so Mack, Frazz, and Stipp started the ride in a dismal level of form as they set out from Florence, Oregon on their way to Eugene about 60 miles away as they drove. in Idaho a few days later, the daily 50 to 70 miles became less exhausting. The riders did not subscribe to the use of the pickup as a “Sag Wagon”. Each morning the cyclists prepared a lunch and set off for 7-9 hours of pedaling. This accommodated a schedule where each cyclist cycled for 2 days and then rode one; providing built-in rest days and allowing each rider to cycle approximately 200 miles per week for ten weeks and achieve a total of approximately 2,000 miles for the trip. ** In just over 2 months, the ride ended in Yorktown, Va. On July 31.

“We met a lot of people from Europe. They all had the same carefree and positive attitude, like ‘the worst day is always a good day,’ says Bob. “All over the Northern Tier there are signs welcoming TransAm riders. The route started from northern Idaho through Missoula, Montana, through northern Wyoming, through Yellowstone National Park, Colorado and the Rocky Mountain passes.

Bob continues: “The Rockies were tough, but not as tough as the Appalachians which still loom hundreds of miles away. We had been warned of them as well as the vicious dogs of the Southern States. ** In Kentucky, the route passes through many rural towns off the beaten track, their homes directly beside the roads, their many dogs viewing cyclists as a food group. One dog in particular quickly won over Bob, sporting a truly menacing look in his eyes. Bob, unable to get off his pedals smoothly, due to his understandable fear, fell as the dog approached. But the dog simply inspected the entanglement of the man and the crashed bicycle; and continued on the road. Bob will never forget this occasion.

Mack and Frassinello’s friendship centered around cycling after the TransAm ride. From 2008 until today they ride together several times a month and during this time they have planned and completed five multi-day rides trying out different driving patterns.

“Local rides, loved by many Ukiahans, are part of the Mack and Frassinello monthly repertoire. Most trips now consist of 20 to 40 miles, with a food stop and no time limit. Favorites include: Scott’s Valley Road Blue Lake to Lakeport and back Old River Road Talmage to Hopland and back, Willits Little Lake Valley Loop Mountain House Road Hopland to Hwy 128 and back, LowGap Road to Comptch, Orr Springs Road- Ukiah to Mendocino, Joe Rodota Trail and other West Sonoma County trails. Extended multi-day hikes include:

1.Big Sur — April 2010 -Mack and Frassinello parked their car at the Monterey airport and cycled to San Luis Obispo, completely excited for an unassisted experience. After only driving about 30 miles on Hwy 1, camp was set up in Big Sur with the rain falling. The second day totaled approximately 40 miles and camped in the Los Padres National Forest.

Day three included 40 miles of stunning scenery along Highway 1 with Ragged Point and Hearst Castle. Camping a third night was not an option – motel time. 4th day cycling on Highway 1 observing sea lions and heading towards San Luis Obispo

2. Eureka-Arcata & Jacksonville, Oregon — Used the same pickup and trailer to complete a 200 mile week in Northern California and Southern Oregon–

3. Coeur d’Alene & Hiawatha Trail — June 2013 -This hike began with a day trip from Pullman, Washington along the Palouse Trail, a 50 mile round trip from Pullman, Washington to Troy, Idaho and back. A refreshing ride in a light wind through fields of winter wheat and bogs where moose grazed. Then to St. Mary’s where the Coeur d’Alene Trail ride takes a cyclist through forests and meadows to Wallace, Idaho. The next day, climb the Hiawatha Trail and descend 30 miles of railroad tracks and tunnels converted to bike paths, ending the day in the hamlet of Avery, Idaho. This hike included three nights of tent camping, one night on the banks of the Saint-Joseph River where signs warned “Grizzly Bears Present”. The last day of this trip takes Mack and Frassinello 58 miles from Avery, Idaho along the St. Joseph River to St. Mary’s, Idaho.

4.Florence, Oregon and Eugene, Oregon — A 200 mile week — June 2017 — Day one — Cool, chilly rides through the country surrounding Eureka-Arcata, Calif. To Crescent City.

Day Two: 40 miles biked through the Coos Bay area, from the scented pine forest to the beach to enjoy the cool ocean breezes. Days three, four and five at a Florence, Oregon motel, 30-40 mile day bike tours along the north and south branches of the Siuslaw River.

Each day offers the best of the Northwest’s quiet rural roads, coastal weather and scenery that all cyclists can enjoy. Days Six and Seven take Mack and Frassinello to Eugene, where dedicated bike trails provide leisurely rides along the scenic Oregon coast. Eureka-Arcata & Jacksonville, Oregon — Used the same pickup and trailer to complete a 200 mile week in Northern California and Southern Oregon–

3.Coeur d’Alene & Hiawatha Trail — June 2013 -This hike began with a day trip from Pullman, Washington along the Palouse Trail, a 80 km round trip from Pullman, Washington to Troy , Idaho and back. A refreshing ride in a light wind through winter wheat fields and bogs where moose grazed. Then to St. Mary’s where the Coeur d’Alene Trail ride takes a cyclist through forests and meadows to Wallace, Idaho. The next day, to the Hiawatha Trail and 30 mile descent of railroad tracks and tunnels converted to bike paths, ending the day in the hamlet of Avery, Idaho. This hike included three nights of tent camping, one night on the banks of the Saint-Joseph River where signs warned “Grizzly Bears Present”. The last day of this trip takes Mack and Frassinello 58 miles from Avery, Idaho along the St. Joseph River to St. Mary’s, Idaho.

4. Florence, Oregon and Eugene, Oregon — A 200 mile week — June 2017 — Day one — Cool, chilly rides through the country surrounding Eureka-Arcata, Calif. To Crescent City.

Day Two: 40 miles biked through the Coos Bay area, from the scented pine forest to the beach to enjoy the cool ocean breezes. Days three, four and five at a Florence, Oregon motel, 30-40 mile day bike tours along the north and south branches of the Siuslaw River. Each day offers the best of the Northwest’s quiet rural roads, coastal weather and scenery that all cyclists can enjoy. Days six and seven take Mack and Frassinello to Eugene where dedicated bike trails offer leisurely rides along Oregon’s scenic rivers, then south to follow the Smith River and a perfect end to this ride is a rail trail. which takes the cyclist east of Cottage Grove, Oregon.

Ukiah to Occidental to Santa Rosa — This ride takes cyclists down Old River Road out of Ukiah, up to Hopland, Mountain House Road to Hwy 128 and southeast to Cloverdale. The second day of this trip winds through western Sonoma County, serving rain in the face and steep hills that make the rider thankful to arrive at Occidental. Large portions of dumplings at Occidental’s Union Hotel end the second day on a perfect note. Day three features a drive through Sonoma County to Santa Rosa, where Frassinello and Mack take an MTA bus for a lazy ride to Ukiah. Mendocino County cyclists often find that the best bike is in our own backyard. Ford (78) and Frassinello (76) now intend to continue cycling as long as they are able to keep the bike upright and move forward.

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