HAZARD, Ky. — Troy couple Barry and Barbara Minster are in the middle of a cross-country adventure as Barry is cycling from coast-to- coast, a new bucket list goal he had after he retired.
They began their journey in March, driving out to Oceanside, Calif. where Barry began cycling from the West Coast headed to the East Coast. Depending on the terrain, Barry rides between 60-80 miles a day, six days a week.
“I’m really proud of the job he’s doing,” Barbara said.
His wife Barbara is driving the trip, too, as the support vehicle with food and water. She explained that they leapfrog each other as Barbara drives a little further ahead on the path they take each day before parking and waiting for him to pass.
“We’ve been really, really blessed,” Barry said about the weather. He said, throughout over two months on this cross-country cycling trip, they’ve only missed two and a half days of riding due to weather and he has had only one flat tire.
“It’s just been phenomenal,” Barry said.
They are over 2,400 miles into their trip and have around 700 miles more to go. They used maps from cycling associations, like Race Across America, to plot out their trip. Their trip has taken them through Winslow, Ariz. to U.S. Route 66 through Tulsa, Okla, to U.S. Route 69 through Pittsburg, Kan. They are currently passing through Kentucky and the Appalachian Mountains, where Barry will ride around 40-50 miles a day because of the topography.
Barry’s interest in cycling grew from when he was a runner, participating in the Air Force Marathon before switching to cycling more. He was inspired to keep active by his father-in-law, who underwent a bypass surgery in his 60’s and later became more active, now golfing a couple times a week in his 90’s.
Barry reitred from Emerson Climate Technologies, which has a location in Sidney, last year after being with the company for 36 years, and he wanted to continue in that tradition of being active, challenging himself to do a cross-country cycling trip.
“It’s been a fun experience so far,” he said.
He said that they hope to inspire their kids and grandkids, showing that retirement does not mean a person’s done living and can do more than just sit in front of a TV.
“This trip is just to get from one side of the country to the other,” Barry said. While their trip is not really a sight-seeing trip, Barry and Barbara have been meeting a variety of people on their trip, the majority of whom have been helpful and welcoming.
“We have met the nicest people,” Barbara said. “It really gives you hope for this country.”
She said that in times where she’s been parked on the side of the road waiting for Barry to pass by, people have stopped to check and see if she was OK and needed help.
“The people are just so friendly,” Barbara said.
“For the most part, people have been fantastic,” Barry said.
Barry has had similar experiences with people being friendly and helpful. In areas where there was high water, people went out of their way to drive back and let him know not to cycle in certain areas.
Barry also got help locally from J & D Bicycles in Troy, who gave Barry advice on cycling on the highway, where there can be bits of steel in the road from broken belts from blown tires. Barry said that they advised spinning his bike tires every morning to check for pieces of glass or steel, which was helpful advice since there were several times he pulled steel bits out of his bike tires.
Barry also expressed appreciation for his wife, who was able to help organize the trip as well as prepare the arrangements at their home in Troy.
“I really appreciate the fact that my wife was able to put everything on hold and be the support vehicle,” Barry said.
The trip has also been a spiritual journey for them as well as Barry said that they have been appreciating “the power of prayer and the blessings we’ve received” so far.
“We have a prayer each morning,” Barry said.
While they still have about two to three weeks left of traveling and cycling to do, it’s an experience that they would recommend.
“I think that we would give a thumb’s up,” Barry said.
Reach Sam Wildow at firstname.lastname@example.org. © 2019 Miami Valley Sunday News, all rights reserved.