11,346-mile journey ends
SARANAC LAKE – Lake Clear resident Floyd Lampart finished a 11,346-mile bike ride around the perimeter of the continental United States Monday.
Riding into town with a collection of friends and fellow cyclists, the 67-year-old arrived at the Tri-Lakes Humane Society’s animal shelter in Saranac Lake at noon.
“It feels great to be home,” Lampart said. “It’s bittersweet because I know the adventure’s over, but it’s great to home. When I hit the Adirondack Park sign 60 miles west of here, I knew I was home. I had a good feeling about being in the Adirondacks again.”
Lampart, a retired land surveyor for the state Department of Environmental Conservation, endured all kinds of obstacles on his cycling odyssey that started on April 4. He left Lake Clear for northern Maine when temperatures were still below freezing and snow was still falling.
He then headed south down the East Coast, eventually enduring extreme heat as he headed west through the southern states. At that point, he was getting up at 2 or 3 a.m. in the morning to ride before the heat of the day made riding unbearable.
From San Diego, he cycled up the windy West Coast to Washington state, eventually making his way across the northern U.S. until he arrived home Monday.
“I would say it’s one of the high-end bicycling endurance things that you can come across … (especially) when you combine the distance with the fact that he did it solo,” said Saranac Lake cyclist Dan Reilly. “It was so hot in the Southwest that he was popping tubes due to heat, coming apart on the seams. He’s carrying all that weight. There’s a lot of guys that have done endurance rides, but they have a support vehicle behind them. They are staying in a hotel at night or staying in an RV.”
Lampart did spend nights at hotels, often when he was traveling in hot climates, but he mainly camped along the way.
Lampart, who biked home after the homecoming at the animal shelter, did this trip for a number of reasons. For one, he loves cycling, but he also used it to raise money for animals. He raised $17,000 for a fire suppression system at the Tri-Lakes Humane Society and more than $50,000 for laboratory equipment at the Best Friends Animal Society in Kanab, Utah. Lampart and his wife, Martha, have volunteered at Best Friends for many years.
As part of his trip, Lampart also visited the most eastern, western, southern and northern post offices in the continental U.S.: visiting, Lubec, Maine; Key West, Fla.; La Push, Wash.; and Angle Inlet, Minn.
While Lampart did the trip alone, he received a lot of support at home from his wife, who would often help him locate a place to sleep for the night, doing research on the Internet. Martha said she was busier than she expected, getting an average of four to six calls a day from her husband.
“I don’t know what I’m going to do with him,” she said. “I figure he’s going to want to get up every day and go for a bike ride after I let him clean up the yard because I left all the twigs and everything from all the windstorms so he’d have something to do. It’s going to be good to have him at home.”
Martha was impressed with her husband’s ability to do the trip, but she knew he had the motivation.
“The motivation was for the animals, and that was what it was all about,” she said. “That was his driving force. On his bike, he has the pictures of all his animals, and when it would get rough, he would look down and say, ‘Hey, guys, I need a little help here.’ He’s a firm believer that they were with him.”
Lampart now has a new pet photo to add to the collection. His wife presented him with a dog named Fuzzy Monday.
Lampart actually met Fuzzy in the southwestern town of El Centro on his trip. The dog was homeless and wandering dangerously throughout traffic. Seeing this, Lampart decided to help the dog and took him to a local animal shelter. Later on, Lampart repeatedly asked his wife to adopt the dog, which she eventually did as a surprise.
“The rescuing of the one dog fuzzy in El Centro, that was kind of the highlight of the whole trip,” he said. “It’s what the whole trip was about, helping animals, and it kind of drove home the point that that’s why I was out there doing this.”
Lampart also singled out the majesty of the California redwoods and the kindness of people he met on the road as highlights.
“I have a different feeling about where the country is going then when I did when I started,” he said. “When I started, I kind of felt like the country was really not on good footing. I think there’s still a lot of problems that we have, but I think they’re problems that we can all get over. Basically, people are good people all around the country. You have your elements where you have problems, but most of the people in this country are good, decent folks.”