Friends bike across country, visit Ainsworth

By David Hotle, The JOURNAL


AINSWORTH ? Dan Mott remembers a cold, foggy morning as he and his biking partner Steve Maxwell crossed the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California, to begin their trip from sea to shining sea.

As the two crossed from the Pacific Ocean to San Francisco Bay on the suspension bridge, Mott tried to look down to see the bay beneath him. He was unable to see the water due to the layers of fog that had rolled in overnight. Months of preparation and planning had led to the chilly August morning as the pair set out on a bike ride that would not stop until they dipped the tires of their bikes into the Atlantic Ocean somewhere in New Jersey. Of course, by the time they hit Sacramento, it was 105 degrees.

?We are high school classmates and we graduated together in 1970 from Scattergood School in West Branch, Iowa,? Mott said of Maxwell, as he sat with his sister, Deb McCreedy, on the porch of her Ainsworth home. ?We lost track of each other for a few years, then got ahold of each other. I took a job in Cheyenne, Wyoming, and he lives in Boulder, Colorado.?

Not wanting to let a 90-minute drive or a three-hour bike ride separate them from old friends, the two began to see more of each other. Both were also bicycling enthusiasts. It wasn?t too long before they started talking about doing a cross-country trip.

Inside the house, several other family members had visited to see the pair as their route brought them through eastern Iowa. McCreedy served her guests a dinner of chicken enchiladas to help them relax after a 90-mile day. Mott commented the next couple of days would be easy days, as the pair plan to visit Scattergood School on Wednesday before returning to the road Thursday.

?I?ve always enjoyed riding a bike and I took some long bike rides when I was in high school,? Maxwell said. ?I guess I have always been physically active. About 15 years ago I did a lot of running and started getting sore knees, so I began biking more.?

As they rode more the two began watching more professional cycling tours. The cycling bug became more deeply embedded in the two. It wasn?t long before they began discussing their proposed 3,400-mile trip.

?It?s one of those things where if the mountain is there, you have to climb it,? Mott said. ?I?ve had some friends and acquintances who have done it. It wasn?t a bucket-list thing, but as we talked about it more I became more interested in doing it.?

McCreedy was excited to see her brother and his old friend ride through, as well as her other brother Dave Ash-Mott who is driving the support vehicle for the pair, but said when she heard about the idea to ride across country, she was unconvinced.

?Dan introduced the idea to the family to get some input about what we thought,? McCreedy said. ?We shared what we thought. There is a lot of risk and these are not the youngest men. They waited until they were 66 to do the trip. Still, Dan is very determined so I decided to go with the flow.?

Dave Ash-Mott, a cycling enthusiast in his own right, said he was ?volunteered? to drive the support vehicle when the original person who was to drive canceled at the 11th hour.

?It is not something I would like to do myself, but it is fascinating to be involved with it,? he said.

The group left from their homes to meet in San Francisco to begin the ride. They left on Aug. 18. They plan to be on the east coast on Sept. 27.

Maxwell said for the last week they had managed over 100 miles a day. They mostly stay in motels, but with both men having roots in Iowa, they are visiting people and staying in their homes as they pass through.