Tallmadge father-daughter team cycle across the U.S.

Dunbar Primary music teacher unearths Holy Grail of bicycling

by rachel sluss | reporter Published:

Tallmadge -- Jay Singer, 62, is a music teacher at Dunbar Primary School with a passion for bicycling. He decided to take on the longest bicycle tour of his life this summer and obtain, what he refers to as "the Holy Grail."

After dipping the front wheel of his recumbent in the Atlantic Ocean and the rear wheel in the Pacific, Singer fulfilled his ultimate goal in cycling.

"I wanted to prove my personal competence," Singer said. "Also, the 'TransAm' IS the Holy Grail."

"TransAm" refers to cycling from coast to coast. This particular trek was 3,379 miles.

Singer and his daughter, Molly, a 24-year-old second-year Case Western University medical student, spent 53 days cycling from one coast to the other, averaging 67 miles per day. Singer said he expected the journey to take longer.

The duo began their trek in Anacortes, Wash. They used a combination of Google Maps, Adventure Cycling and Warm Showers, a hospitality exchange for touring cyclists to assist in their journey. Singer said navigating with smart phones made the trip more manageable.

The father-daughter team equipped their bikes with camping supplies such as a tent and small stove, but they tried to stay with Warm Shower hosts or in hotels as much as possible. After riding 75 miles, setting up camp can be an unwanted additional task, Singer said.

Singer said he found meeting the generous Warm Shower hosts enjoyable. The two also received unexpected help along the way from a number of people, even free coffee from a barista.

"I learned to try and be more generous," Singer said when asked what he learned from the trip. "The people we met were amazing. Just because we were cyclist they took us into their home and gave us dinner and a room to sleep in and breakfast for no reason. There was no charge of course. It was just a wonderful act of generosity that I learned from."

Singer experienced a mechanical problem with his bike in Idaho and thought the trip might end. However, a "handy man" fixed the alignment issue in about a half hour. Other than that minor glitch, Singer said the two had very positive experiences.

The two enjoyed Minneapolis's extensive bicycle trails and the beautiful scenery of the Northern Cascades. They rode through the Continental Divide, the Rocky Mountains, Teddy Roosevelt National Forest, and many other picturesque venues.

"A lot of people ask me why we're doing this journey," Molly wrote in a blog entry at the beginning of the tour. "My answer will be different from my Dad's, but it boils down to this 1. I get to spend some good time with my Dad; 2. I like the challenge of carrying myself, self-contained, across the country on my own two legs; 3. You get to see some amazing places and meet all sorts of interesting folks on the road, both things you'd zip by in a car."

Singer has been cycling his entire life and has toured many locations, including cycling around all the Great Lakes. However, this is his last lengthy tour. He wanted to note how much he appreciates his wife's support in his journeys over the years.

"Whether I'm a completest, or something else is at work in my subconscious, I feel a great sense of satisfaction and peace while I'm touring," Singer wrote in a blog entry.

Singer said he's satisfied to have ended his touring days by completing the TransAm.

The father-daughter cyclists posted blog entries and photos throughout their trek. For more information and photos, visit www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/pupine.

Email: rsluss@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9400 ext. 4162

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