New England native making his third cross-country journey
by Randy Parks
On May 21, Steve Laskey, 52, hopped aboard his bicycle in Spokane, Wash., and began a journey that will take him to the contiguous 48 states, ending in Maine sometime around Thanksgiving.
Laskey is bicycling solo around the country to raise funds for Make-A-Wish, and he is no stranger to long tours. In 1995, Laskey rode from California to his home state of Massachusetts, a distance of about 3,600 miles, and in 2008, Laskey biked from Alaska to Florida, covering about 5,000 miles.
Laskey said his current tour will be his longest one yet, about 7,500, and will probably be his last long ride.
Laskey’s ride south from Spokane on his way to California brought him to Burns, where he spent a rest day on June 4, his 15th day of travel. “I ride six days a week, and try to average 50 miles a day. It just depends on how tough the route is that day,” Laskey said.
Laskey’s planned route will take him in a snake-like pattern from north-to-south and then south-to-north toward his goal of “touching” 48 states. He camps along the way, carrying everything he needs on his bicycle. “Fully loaded, I’m carrying about 100 pounds,” Laskey said. “The one thing I’m concerned about is water while I’m going across the desert country. I can carry a week’s worth of food with me, but there’s no way I can take along a week’s worth of water.”
As a solution to the water concern, Laskey is hoping to find “water holes” along the way before he heads out along his planned route, or possibly even arrange water drops.
Laskey said his love for biking began when he was about 6 years old and he would ride to the country store. “Then, I started taking day trips, then week-long trips, and they just kept getting longer and longer,” he said.
Laskey noted that he loves the physical challenge, but it’s important to go slow to prevent injuries. He’s already crossed a 5,300-foot summit on this trip, and said when he’s riding over the mountains, he might go just a tenth of a mile before he takes a break because of the weight of the bike. “Then I’ll go another tenth and rest again. When I start to feel the burn in the legs, I know it’s time to rest a little,” he said.
Traveling solo may sound like a lonely way to go, but Laskey said it’s pretty much the opposite. “I meet people every day, and so far the trip has been excellent,” Laskey said.
He also travels with a laptop and a GPS so he can update his travels on his website BIKESURVIVORUSA.COM
For those wishing to make a donation, they can visit Laskey’s website and click on the “Donate” button.