John Day, Oregon
Nick Bergen is an adrenaline junkie.
The 30-year-old cyclist is the envy of our Cycle of Hope brethren. As we struggle to climb the mountain, Bergen is coming down at speeds of 80 km/hr. He’s already climbed the mountain and the other one next to it.
He flashes a smile and leans his wiry frame forward.
“Growing up in Wolseley the bicycle was the method of freedom,” Bergen starts.
“A beater bike in front of the garage can that I built up — I rode that for years and years. Then I saw an Italian bicycle and that was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen.”
Bergen was hooked. He went on eBay and built a his own bike and took it on the road. “It was fast!”
He got the shorts, the shoes, the speedy helmet and boom! He rode with cyclists better than him and got better and better. He rides everyday except Monday. That’s his day off.
There are a handful of adrenaline junkies here in Oregon. They crave speed and the challenge of finishing the ride as quickly as possible. They were out in front at 5 a.m. Wednesday, our last day enroute to Baker City.
Others have been a part of Cycle of Hope for several years. Many are retired or close to retiring. The common thread is to give back. It’s humbling to see the selflessness among the riders.
Jeff Rill, 59, cycled in the 2002 Cycle of Hope. He and his partner Susan Rose, 54, are the perfect quirky couple.
Rose is a science teacher who believes in the steady, methodical approach to riding your bike. Stretch, hydrate, cycle at a consistent speed with yoga to end the day. Rill is a bearded civil servant who likes to cycle shirtless, stop for breakfast, dip his feet in a mountain creek and go for beers at the end of the day.
They are the perfect match. You can tell by the twinkle in their eyes.
“I picked her up for our first date on a bicycle,” Rill explains. “She said yes!”
They travel the world on cycling and other adventurers and live life to the fullest. You see evidence of that in all the participants.
It’s a lesson I have learned in the past 10 days. Live life. Get out of your comfort zone.
WATCH: Richard’s early morning VLOG July 11.
Click here to support Richard on his ride.
Click here to track him on GPS.
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