The Pacific Coast journey, which took 43 days to complete and covered 2,083 miles, earned the cyclist her most recent record title for the oldest person to cross America by bicycle (NS) (female) at 72 years and 27 days.
However, this record was part of a larger, long-term goal: to create a colossal GPS image of a peace sign in the United States and Canada.
But how did this incredible feat come about?
Interestingly, cross-country biking wasn’t a goal Lynnea had her eyes on in particular.
In fact, one of her first experiences with riding a bike nearly dissuaded her from stepping on a pedal again.
“At seven years old in 1956, I was sitting astride the rear fender of my brother’s bicycle, my arms clenched around his waist. My face was buried in his back and my vision was obscured. I felt the ground part. below us and felt like they were falling off a cliff,” Lynnea recalled.
“I panicked and squeezed my legs. My foot got stuck in the spokes, and the next thing I know, our next-door
In 1970, Lynnea’s brother, John Thomas West, was killed when the F-4 Phantom the 28-year-old was piloting crashed in Laos.
The painful event would eventually serve as a source of motivation for Lynnea and pave the way for her cycling journey across America.
“I needed to decide what I wanted to do when I grew up. I started a business and a Ph.D. and started running to balance them,” Lynnea said.
Lynnea didn’t touch a bike again until 1999, just before her 50th birthday.
“In 2003, I ran the Boston Marathon, having barely qualified the year before during my first marathon. When I developed running injuries, my coaches suggested cross-training, so I got on a bike for the first time since my bike accident childish”. She continued.
When his son was ten years old, he clipped an article about a teenager who was cycling across the United States.
“It was an activity that I thought my son would like to do. At the time, I didn’t realize that I had planted the seed for my own efforts.”
And so, his journey began.
Lynnea cycled a peace sign route across the US, not only in honor of her brother John, but also in the name of world peace.
His most recent feat was completing the continent-sized peace sign, which was made up of more than a dozen segments in all.
Lynnea’s other two record titles include:
- Oldest person to cross America on a bicycle – Achieved on October 23, 2016 at 67 years and 32 days, when he completed his journey between Oceanside, California and Bethany Beach, Delaware, USA.
- Oldest person to cross Canada by bicycle (female) – Achieved on August 26, 2018 at 68 years and 340 days.
Although biking along the Pacific coast proved challenging, deciding where to start was easy.
“Because I rode a peace sign on a bike, I was always looking for peace monuments,” Lynnea explained.
“On the Pacific Coast border between the US and Canada is the Peace Arch. The 100th anniversary of its completion was September 6, 2021, so I chose that as my start date.”
Biking the Pacific Coast was a challenge for Lynnea, with more than 100,000 feet of long, steep climbs along the way.
Some days, he had more than one major climb, but he said the views he got were rewarding.
“Because I was riding my bike, I was able to stop at places inaccessible to a car and take in unique sights,” Lynnea said.
“Visiting the peace monuments added a significant dimension, particularly the Korean Friendship Bell south of Los Angeles. Retrieving my brother’s wedding ring in Everett, Washington was also particularly significant.”
Lynnea also mentioned that another big hurdle she faced was an encounter with a wildfire.
During one of his sections, he could see a fire from his lodging.
Because the route he had planned for the next morning was completely blocked by fire, he quickly looked for an alternative route, which included going through a difficult mountain pass.
The pass was long, steep, and had narrow shoulders, making it dangerous for a cyclist.
“Traffic was heavier than normal because it was diverted the same way I had to travel,” Lynnea said.
“Once at the top of the pass, I had to go back down. The descent was steep, with deep switchbacks and no railings.”
“Fortunately, there were a few retirements where I was able to stop and collect myself for the next stage,” he continued.
She also got stuck when some of her gear failed: her front derailleur suddenly stopped working.
“The small ring is what you need to climb, so I was able to go up, but on the descents and the flats I lost a lot of the power I can normally apply,” Lynnea recalled.
Due to supply chain issues, it took a full week before the rider was able to get the part.
Finally, his bike mechanic, who was located three thousand miles away, was able to remove the part from a bike he had in his shop and ship it to him by air.
The last bit of bad luck was the construction of the road that Lynnea came across, forcing her to constantly detour.
“I shared the road with huge logging trucks in the Pacific Northwest,” he recalled.
“On the Astoria Bridge from Washington state to Oregon, a hostile driver slowed down next to me and yelled.”
But that incident still wasn’t enough to throw off the cyclist, who trained rigorously for the attempt.
To train for her record-breaking title, Lynnea maintained a baseline of 100 miles per week, adding an additional 10 percent with each passing week.
“Because my records are related to age and not speed, I don’t have to go fast, so I don’t get the burnout that speed riders do,” Lynnea admitted.
“Whenever I was tired, a word of encouragement from the three people I biked with, or our support driver and crew, was all it took to keep me going.”
For her next expedition, Lynnea was prepared to cycle from the Arctic Circle to the Mediterranean Sea.
Unfortunately, their plans were postponed first in 2020 due to COVID-19 and again in 2022 due to the war between Russia and Ukraine.
Despite these setbacks, Lynnea doesn’t intend to put a damper on her future aspirations anytime soon.
She hopes to eventually achieve the record titles of:
- Oldest person to cycle through Europe (female)
- Largest Bike GPS Drawing (Single)
- Oldest person to bike in Africa (female)
- Ancient best person to ride a bike in South America (female).
Lynnea is motivated by her appetite for adventure and the challenge of cycling such long distances.
“I love researching and planning these adventures and seeing the world at a bicycle pace,” he said.
“I also want to continue raising money for peace organizations.”
Lynnea hopes the title of her new album sends the message to the world that ordinary people can do extraordinary things.
“A bike ride begins with a pedal stroke. Whatever your goal is, it can be achieved in small steps.”
According to 6park.news. Source of photo: internet