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Cyclists push boundaries in trans-America ride

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A circle of inspiration formed from long-distance cycles has seen three friends pedal thousands of kilometres across the United States.

Bruce Armstrong and Bob Dally, both aged in their early 70s, were joined by 63-year-old Marshall Innes as they embarked on a 7,120-kilometre journey over 74 days, starting in Yorktown, Virginia, in the east and ending at Astoria, Oregon, in the west.

The trio are part of a Hunter-based social push bike group called Let’s GO, which undertakes three morning rides each week in the Greater Newcastle area.

Bob said he was inspired to complete the trans-America ride when he met fellow member, Bruce, and learned of his adventures.

“Bruce rode across Australia, from Perth to Sydney, when he was 60; I talked to him and thought ‘I’d like to do a ride like that,’” Bob told Newcastle Weekly.

“So, in 2016, I rode up to Dungog and back and, the following year, I went to Victoria and rode from Melbourne to Sydney.

“We then started to plan this [American] one.”

Bob said the trio had to endure physical challenges, as well as tough weather conditions, but added companionship kept them going.

“We just took it one day at a time – we climbed about 56,000m in total, which Bruce worked out is like going to the top of [Mount] Everest seven times,” he said.

 “There was a lot of heat in the early part through Virginia, then, in the Rockies, it was 0 or below 0 at night.

“The Mississippi [River] was in flood, so we were diverted about 150km south and, in the last part at Hells Canyon, people stopped to give us water because it was so hot.

“Each day, one of us was feeling sore or worn out, so it was a real team effort to complete it.”

Despite the challenges, Bob believed the group’s achievements had unwittingly encouraged others to undergo similar journeys.

“We didn’t realise until we got going, but we met a number of people who stopped us on the way across and said: ‘I’ve been planning something like that for 20 years’ and they promised to go and do it,” he said.

“They were inspired by it, just like I was inspired by Bruce.”

The Let’s GO social bike group rides on Sunday mornings, starting near Speers Point pool at 8am in winter and 7am in summer. It also completes Tuesday and Thursday rides from Mount Hutton ALDI at 7.30am.

Email [email protected] if you’d like to contact the group.

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