Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Trans American Bike Trail brings cyclist through Webster County

J-E News Editor
Hundreds, if not thousands of cyclist pass through Webster County every year, following a path that leads through the county from Wheatcroft to Sebree. Most of the time they are just people most of us see pedaling along the side of the road and never give a second thought. 

Where do these people come from and where are they going? Either answer could be almost anywhere. That route through Webster County lies on the TransAmerican Trail, a 4,232 mile bike route that runs from Astoria, Oregon to Yorktown, VA. For cyclists, it’s considered the standard way to cross the country.
On Monday I had the opportunity to meet some of these bikers at one of the hot spots on their route; the Sebree Dairy Bar.
Five cyclists arrived in Sebree Monday morning at around eleven o’clock. Their intention was to grab lunch and to have a milkshake at the Dairy Bar before continuing on their way. But these young women weren’t just out for a relaxing morning ride. These five young women were making their way from Washington D.C. to San Francisco, California, a 3,160 mile trip they expect to complete  in around two months (they left Washington on June 10 and expect to reach California by the middle of August).
The group left the Utica fire department in Daviess County on Monday morning, and expected to reach Marion by the end of the day. They will continue across the country, riding around 50 miles per day until they reach their destination.
This group was made up of college students, four from Harvard and one from Johns Hopkins. But they weren’t the only cyclists on the road Monday.
Marcus Thompson, 25 of Bossier City, LA, a grad student at Purdue, rode into Sebree as the group of ladies was about to pull out. He exchanged a few words with the group, including some information on the terrain they would be facing when they crossed into Missouri.
As they headed off to the west, Thompson continued eastward, hoping to push on at a faster pace. He wasn’t just riding the route for fun, Thompson is one of 44 cyclists competing in the 2014 TransAm Bike Race. On Monday morning, the 24th day of his trip, he was in 15th and had completed about 3350 miles of  the ride.
“I seriously considered quitting on day three,” said Thompson. “But I got a hotel room, rested and pushed on.”
Ten minutes west of Sebree I ran into 45-year-old Steven Martine, a former photojournalist from Stewart, FL. He’d started the day by crossing the Ohio River on the Cave-In-Rock Ferry at 6:15 a.m. He also had plan to stop at the Dairy Bar.
The leader board of the TransAm Bike Race can be found online at:
The TransAmerican Trail was unofficially born in 1976 when 4,100 cyclist gathered  in Reedsport, OR for Bikecentennial ‘76, a bike tour in commemoration of the bicentennial of America’s Declaration of Independence. Around 2,000 of those riders completed the entire journey.


  1. Matt - met you the Monday that Marcus Thompson came through. I didn't make it back down from Evansville, but I still need to buy two of the papers that this story appeared in. Do you have any available?

  2. Micahel, I emailed you back, I don't know if you got it. I have two copies held.

  3. FYI I spoke with the father of one of the college girls riding west an at noon on Friday they were on the western edge of Missouri.