Pedaling for paws
SARANAC LAKE – Floyd Lampart has a couple of serious long-distance biking trips under his belt. In 1994, he crossed the country. Then in 1999, he flew to Fairbanks, Alaska, and rode home – 4,236 miles in 40 days.
Now he’s ready for his next adventure.
Starting next week, the 67-year-old Lake Clear resident is setting out on a roughly 12,000-mile biking trip around the perimeter of the continental United States, visiting four distinct post offices along the way.
Lampart hopes to get on the road Wednesday or Thursday. He’ll start off heading east toward Lubec, Maine, home of the post office located the farthest east in the U.S. From there, he’ll head down the East Coast to Key West, Fla., the location of the southern-most post office in the U.S.
Lampart then will head west to San Diego, where he will turn north until he gets to the Olympic Peninsula in Washington, where he plans to find La Push, home to the Quileute Indian tribe and the most westerly post office in the lower 48 states. From there, he’ll ride across the northern U.S. to Angle Inlet, Minn., the location of the northern-most post office in the lower 48. This part of Minnesota is actually an island of land, surrounded by Canada.
From there, he’ll head back home.
“Thoughts of this ride came along because I read an article about a couple fellows who did this, rode around the country,” he said. “Not the four post offices, like I’m going to do, but they rode around the perimeter, and it really sounded interesting.”
Lampart is a retired land surveyor for the state Department of Environmental Conservation in Ray Brook. He retired in 2010 after 33 years, including 20 years of commuting to work by bike.
Lampart has been biking his entire life but said he became more serious about it 20 years ago because he saw it as a means to improve his health. He was slightly overweight and had high cholesterol back then. Plus, he saw it as an environmentally clean way to get around.
“I couldn’t see the sense in one guy driving in a car,” Lampart said. “I’ve always been one to kind of conserve. … Plus, it gets you out in the fresh air. Plus, you get your exercise riding to work and back every day. Then when you come back at night, you can do other things.”
On this trip, Lampart said he plans to camp a few days a week and spend nights in inexpensive motels other times. His gear, including a tent and sleeping bag, will be carried in panniers, bags attached to his bag. He won’t carry a camp stove; he plans to buy food and meals along the way.
The plan is to ride between 75 and 90 miles per day, averaging about 500 miles a week and 2,000 miles a month.
“It’s just nice to get out, and the more you ride, the more you feel like riding,” Lampart said. “I guess you get endorphins and stuff like that in your system. It’s interesting. You get to see stuff you never get to see in a car … It’s just peaceful being out on the road.”
While this is a dream trip for Lampart, it will serve more than one purpose. He is an animal lover, and his wife Martha is studying to be veterinarian technician, so he is using the trip to raise funds for the Tri-Lakes Humane Society in Saranac Lake. The trip is also being dedicated to two Lampart family cocker spaniels, Chester and Marley, who are both dead.
The shelter houses more than 100 cats and 30 dogs, but it doesn’t have a sprinkler system that could be used if there is a fire, he said.
“In the event of a fire, there’s no way they are going to be able to get those animals out,” Lampart said.
With this in mind, Lampart began researching how much a fire suppression system would cost. He estimates it will cost up to $20,000, so that’s his fundraising goal.
Lampart is asking people to pledge money toward this cause. None of that money will go toward his trip because he’s already saved money for that.
“They can pledge a half a cent a mile, a quarter-cent a mile, a tenth of a cent a mile, whatever they feel they would be capable of doing or they can make an outright donation, like $20, $50,” he said. “I’ve had people do both.”
People who want to make a pledge can get more information on the Tri-Lakes Humane Society’s website, by calling Lampart’s wife, Martha, at 518-891-0319 or by emailing email@example.com.
People who pledge money will be provided updates on Lampart’s trip by his wife. The updates will include a link to a website tracking his progress and access to photos from the trip. He plans to take photos daily.