The Fluckes’ 2020 Adventures
“What do you have planned for this year?”
This is the most common question we get asked when we are at the grocery store, the gym, shoveling our driveway, meetings, out for dinner or a beer, literally everywhere we go in and around Green Bay, Wisconsin. And we love it!
What everyone is asking about, of course, is our next great tandem bicycle adventure. It’s kind of become our thing. After twenty-five years of riding a tandem, innumerable training rides, day trips, three unsupported cross-country adventures, a book (“Coast to Coast on a Tandem”), many articles and television appearances, and a 1,500-mile ride last spring from Washington State to Nevada along the ridge of the Cascade and Sierra Nevada mountain ranges, it is what we are known for. Not to mention our bicycle and pedestrian safety consulting business, WE BIKE, etc., LLC and our advocacy work.
So, what do we have planned.
We need to bring you up to speed on several factors which are influencing our approach to this year before we reveal our plan.
Honestly, the biggest factor is Tracy’s knee, but there are others.
Tracy’s knee isn’t the same as it was before she was hit by a motorist back in July of 2018 while riding her bicycle. A driver ran a stop sign, failed to yield the right of way and struck Tracy causing a concussion, whiplash, bruising and a complex tear of the medial meniscus of her left knee which required surgery. Tracy was cleared by her doctor ten-months later to do our last trip, but he warned that the knee might not be as strong as before and might fatigue and become painful more easily. All these things were true. We were able to complete 1,500 miles, but we had to abandon before completing our goal of riding 7,000 miles through our last 21 states. Tracy was also dealing with anxiety from the crash and this contributed to our early departure.
Fortunately, Tracy’s knee is still getting stronger, thanks to her hard work and determination. She has recently returned to fitness classes, playing volleyball, and even running a bit. Hope springs eternal.
Peter had a bit of a scare himself in January when he developed some pain and a bump on the inside of his left knee. After consulting our athletic trainer and sports medicine doctor, Peter thought he might need surgery, his second on that knee. Fortunately, after x-rays, an MRI and a visit to our orthopedic surgeon, the bump was determined to be a meniscal cyst and he was cleared to return to training, without surgery or any restrictions. Peter is one happy camper and is killing his workouts!
It took us twenty-five years to build our skill, knowledge and strength to the point where we have been able to do some pretty incredible things, but now, it is time to reassess. Our plan this year is to start out small and see how far we can get.
Everything you always wanted to know about our bicycle history, but were afraid to ask!
We moved to Ashwaubenon in 1993 for Tracy’s job as the Director of Parks, Recreation and Forestry. Almost every night after work, we would ride the same ten-mile loop west of town with our, then three-year-old, daughter, Melissa, in a bicycle trailer. When Melissa turned five, we bought our first tandem (Trek T-100) so Melissa could ride. Tracy did her first 100-miler on that bike at the Door County Century. When we added our second daughter, Alexandra, to the mix, she joined us on our family rides in the trailer. Some of our first overnight rides were from our home to Shawano (41 miles) on the Mountain-Bay State Recreation Trail. We would spend the night at a hotel in Shawano with other families from the Bay Shore Bicycle Club, eating pizza and swimming. The next day we all biked home.
We would sneak away on the bike as a couple whenever we could. Our first fully loaded (with camping gear) trip was to Fond du Lac (65 miles) in 2001. We had just bought our road/touring tandem, a Santana Arriva, and all the necessary gear. We camped in Peter’s brother’s back yard and got eaten alive by mosquitoes. We were hooked!
Our trips kept getting longer and longer as time permitted. By the time we completed our first three-week unsupported trip in Wisconsin/Minnesota, we figured we could probably make it across the country.
We completed our first of three unsupported cross-country trips, along the Northern Tier of the United States (4,362 miles), in 2014. We followed that with the Mississippi River (3,052 miles) in 2015 and, Historic Route 66 (2,603 miles) in 2016. In 2017, we released a book about our 2014 trip, “Coast to Coast on a Tandem, Our Adventure Crossing the USA on a Bicycle Built for Two.”
What is keeping us busy besides riding bikes?
There is a lot going on in the bicycle and pedestrian world in northeastern Wisconsin these days. We are looking forward to being home this spring to work with the following groups and organizations on their many projects:
Work will keep us busy this spring as well. We will be doing pedestrian and bicycle law enforcement training for the great State of New Mexico and Bike Cleveland (Ohio). This training provides law enforcement officers with the information they need to enforce laws which protect pedestrians and bicyclists and improve traffic safety in their communities.
We hope to see you on the road!
The determining factors in when and where we will travel by bicycle this year will likely be the weather (which way the wind is blowing), how we are feeling and, how much time we have. After that, the sky’s the limit! Follow our progress on this blog and our social media channels.
Facebook – WE BIKE, etc.
Instagram – @webikeetc
Twitter – @WeBikeetc