Local man cycles over 700 milesBY CHUCK TUCK | JOURNAL REPORTER Life is measured by more than just accomplishments and milestones are just mere stepping stones in life’s journey.
Then again, those milestones such as a sweet sixteen party, high school graduation, a twenty first birthday, marriage, children, and then the big 4-0 are more than just simple milestones in life.
Forty for some reason or another is still a big deal, even in these times when being 40-years-old is considered the new 30 something. Those and other seemingly insignificant dates in one’s life sometimes define our characteristics and make up who we are.
In the case of Dan Kratz of Lake Stevens turning forty meant an adventure of a lifetime.
“Last summer I started thinking about what I wanted to do to celebrate my 40th birthday,” Kratz said.
He turned 40 on July 3 and also earned a college degree.
Being an avid cyclist, Kratz rides his bike to work in Bellevue and can be seen with his red helmet and brightly colored jersey as he rides along Highway 9.
“What I do is I ride year round; like today, I rode 35 miles from Lake Stevens to south Bellevue. On the return trip I take the bus from the Bellevue transfer center to the Everett station.”
He has also done many local cycling trips and loves the sport not only because it is refreshing and good for the environment, but he also enjoys the health benefits that he reaps from riding.
“I’m a pretty avid cyclist as you could probably tell,” he said.
With nearly a year to plan his trip, he began looking through different cycling magazines for ideas of where to go. He mentioned that his wife was from Rhode Island, and making a family trip to the northeast to celebrate his birthday with family would mean finding a cycling trip closer to that destination.
“The wife is from Rhode Island and we were thinking about going north anyway, I started laying out this trip and the more I thought about it, I thought well, if I do the bike part on my own and have my wife and kids fly out and pick me up in the north, we could continue on our family trip up to Rhode Island,” Kratz said.
Kratz said that he recalled reading a magazine article on a particular trip that sounded interesting.
“I read an article in a bicycling magazine last fall that mentioned the Blue Ridge Parkway and that was a supported ride,” he said.
Kratz was ready for his 12 day, 723 mile trek carrying 33 pounds of gear to celebrate not only his 40th birthday, but a college degree.
His trip took him from Knoxville, Tenn. to the mountain roads of the Great Smokeys, and through the Blue Ridge Parkway and Skyline Drive along the Appalachian Mountains, then finally ending up in Front Royal, Virginia east of Washington D.C. where he would meet his family.
What struck Kratz as being really incredible was the hospitality he experienced on his trip.
“Of all the people I talked to that helped me out in the south, they were very proud of that heritage of being very friendly people,” he said. “In fact, at the end they said is anyone back home this friendly? I just had to laugh because people at home people are friendly, but not going out of their way friendly for a stranger.”
All-in-all it started out to be a birthday trip and the big event ended up being a trip of a lifetime.”
You can read about Kratz’s experience on his personal blog at: www.cyclingdanblog.blogspot.com.