Tricounty News

Biking couple paused in Kimball

By Jean Doran Matua, Editor

It must have been bike-through-Kimball week last week. Just days after a young British man stopped on his way from Seattle to New York, a couple from Madison, Wisc., stopped for breakfast at Triple R in Kimball. They're on their way from Anacordis, Wash., back to Waunakee, Wis. (Jeff originally is from Hutchinson.)

Sue Rather and Jeff Tewes own a company that provides in-home elder care and support. They met 11 years ago on the Minnesota MS Tram Ride, which Sue has done 13 years and Jeff 19. They've been in business together 6 years, married 7.

The couple is riding to raise money for Alzheimer's Association. Jeff's mother died of Alzheimer's, and it affects many of their clients.

"We'd sure like to find a cure," Jeff said.

Riding a tandem bike, they travel about 70 miles a day. They have a few rest days scheduled, and plan to be home in Waunakee by Aug. 2. Their GPS is essential both for planning their route and keeping statistics of miles and elevation

They'd planned to have lots of free time along the ride, and downloaded lots of books to their iPads. They shipped those home, along with all their warm clothes. They now do their blog by iPhone.

They also thought spending so much time together would be easy, since they work together every day.

"It's almost like we're in survival mode," said Sue. They spend most of their non-riding time setting up camp, getting provisions, planning the next day's route, and sleeping. Their 700-mile trial run last summer didn't completely prepare them for this year's trip.

Perhaps their biggest surprise was the 12-foot snow banks at the top of the Cascade Mountains. A pass had to be cut through them.

They're burning 6-8,000 calories a day, they said, so stopping for a hearty breakfast has become very important. They've enjoyed stopping in local cafés along the way (Triple R doesn't quite count). They look for the "curmudgeon table" and start up a conversation. They say they've heard lots of great stories.