It all started when we decided to take a change of pace and ride the rails-to-trails. The abandoned train rail bed made a perfect trail for bikes due to the fact that they are relatively flat and the lack of cars. The surface is crushed limestone that is packed very well, creating a great ride for our thin tires. About twenty three miles in on the trail we made the decision to make a detour from our planned route and continue on toward the great city of Chicago. Along the way we realized that this was the trail with the tunnels that Andy (a pastor we had met in Minot, ND) said we should check out. He had given us his parents’ contact information and mentioned that they would love to host us. We called them and they came and got us from the next town due to time restraints. They live in Sparta, Wisconsin which is the self-proclaimed bicycle capitol of the US. Harlem and Sandie are bicycle ambassadors for Sparta focused on promoting the town and the Sparta trail. Harlem rides his big wheel bicycle in parades and such to promote the cause - he let us ride the bike which was quite the change of pace from our normal steeds.
That night was the end of the beard contest and I, Clancy Finchum, don’t know if I won or lost. I still had my beard and Chase didn’t, but I had to wait in a one-bath house several hours for chase to use the restroom. It literally took Chase over an hour to shave his white-trash mustache off. Our contest was beard growing and the person that shaved first lost and had to carve an awesomely bad mustache. You have to see the pics to really fully understand how bad we looked. Feel free to comment on who you think the victor was or just tell us how horrid our facial hair was. It sure feels good to have a clean face again.
The next morning after a great breakfast that Sandie made us, we checked out the biggest bicycle museum in the USA. It was very complete and really opened my eyes to the whole world of bikes.