Kelsey Regan is one of my heroes.
With little biking experience Regan set off one day to bike from Davenport, Iowa to Lake Superior. She was hooked. Now, she plans to bike across every state in the union. With Iowa and Wisconsin now behind her, she figures that if she does the remaining 48 states at the pace of one per year she’ll finish when she’s 73.
Kelsey was the keynote speaker at the 2015 Wisconsin Bike Summit and she was so great that I put her in touch with Erika Janik who produces the popular “Wisconsin Life” series for Wisconsin Public Radio. Kelsey’s story appeared on WPR this week. You can read Erika’s story below and listen to Kelsey’s narration here.
Here’s what Erika Janik wrote on the WPR website:
It was bike touring that sparked the ultracycling obsession in Kelsey Regan.
“You just load a bunch of camping gear on your bike and start riding,” says Regan. “You go wherever you feel like going.”
A longtime runner, Regan had turned to biking after an injury sidelined her. Her first bike tour was an ambitious 1,000 mile ride from her hometown in Davenport, Iowa, to Lake Superior and back again. Although she had little experience, she made it in about a week.
“On the bike tour, I started wondering how far I could go if I just didn’t stop,” says Regan. “I’m still trying to figure that out.”
Regan started looking into ultracycling, which is generally defined as any distance over 100 miles. She thought it might be fun to bike across every state and noticed that many of the cross-state records hadn’t been set by women. So she set out to set those records, starting first with Iowa and then Wisconsin. She made it from Wisconsin’s southern border near Beloit to Red Cliff on Lake Superior in 22 hours, four minutes.
“It’s really exciting to do something that hasn’t been done before,” says Regan.
She plans to do one state per year. Illinois is up next.
“I really like traveling, and I’ve always wanted to see all fifty states,” says Regan. “There’s no better way to see a state than biking across it.”