CEDAR RAPIDS — Each journey starts with one step. Or, in Steve Bristow’s case, one rotation of his stationary bicycle’s pedals.
And now, since beginning Oct. 17, he’s ridden nearly 3,000 miles on his virtual trip across the United States, from Blaine, Wash., to Miami. It’s a trip most anyone could take if they’d set their mind to it.
“I started this because it was a personal challenge,” says Steve, 59, of Cedar Rapids. “I remember kindergarten through twelfth grade, all the way through school, everybody lived for sports. I did not.”
He tried baseball, but didn’t like it. “I couldn’t hit a bull in the butt with a bass fiddle,” he jokes.
So Steve, who was born in Anamosa, cruised through life without sports or much physical activity. He earned a broadcasting degree from the University of Northern Iowa, worked for a time processing security film at LeFebure Corp. in Cedar Rapids (“Every once-in-a-while an FBI agent would show up,” he says.) and worked in a call center for MCI. He’s taken temp jobs since he was downsized at Hunters Specialties in 2004.
“I am optimistic,” he says. “I have a family beyond price. I’m in good health. I’m in need of a good job.”
Having never married, Steve has pursued his passion on his own — studying history. And it was Albert Speer, Adolf Hitler’s chief architect and a Nazi who accepted his role for the Holocaust, that inspired Steve to ride his stationary bike.
“As a project of his own, so he wouldn’t go crazy, he decided to walk around the world,” Steve says.
Speer spent 12 1/2 years (he was in prison for 20), walking around the prison camp until he’d logged 31,816 kilometers. He wrote about that experience after he was released in 1966.
Steve had started a similar stationary bicycle tour in 1982, the year after Speer’s death, but lost interest. This time he’s determined to finish what he calls “Operation Callous Crotch.”
Never much of a bicycle rider — he’s never thought about riding in RAGBRAI across Iowa — Steve began his virtual journey riding three, four, then five miles a day while he mapped out his route. He’s now up to a dozen or more miles a day, riding for 45 minutes to an hour every evening in his northeast Cedar Rapids condo.
He reached Montana on Dec. 4, Wyoming on Jan. 19, Nebraska on Feb. 20. He did his own crossing of Iowa from April 5 to May 10 following I-80 from Council Bluffs to the Quad Cities. He’s zipped through Illinois, Indiana, edges of Ohio and Kentucky and entered Tennessee June 25.
Steve hopes to reach Miami, a total of 3,688 miles, by Labor Day. That’s more than a month ahead of schedule.
“I think I’m healthier than I was before, but I’m no thinner,” laughs the 5-5, 210-pound man.
But, as the end nears, he’s already considering similar virtual trips, either across Siberia or from Maine to the southern tip of California.
“It’s fun,” Steve says. “It really is. There’s a great sense of accomplishment.”
Comments: (319) 398-8323; email@example.com
Comments are closed.