August 3, 2003 - Los Angeles Daily News: Liberia RPCV David Price takes a spin along the Mother Road

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Liberia RPCV David Price takes a spin along the Mother Road

Caption: With the recumbent bicycle, the rider sits down and the pedals are out in front.

Read and comment on this story from the Los Angeles Daily News on Liberia RPCV David Price who made made a 2,100- mile trip using a recumbent bicycle - in which the rider sits down and the pedals are out in front - with his wife accompanying him in a truck pulling a fifth- wheel travel trailer. at:


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Aug 3, 2003 - Los Angeles Daily News
Author(s): Karen Maeshiro\ Staff Writer

LLANO - At age 60, when most other men are looking toward retirement, David Price rode a home-built bicycle from the Antelope Valley to Chicago along historic Route 66.

Price, a teacher at Challenger Middle School, made the 2,100- mile trip using a recumbent bicycle - in which the rider sits down and the pedals are out in front - with his wife accompanying him in a truck pulling a fifth- wheel travel trailer.

"The motivation for this trip was interest of Route 66," said Price, a resident of Llano. "It's the Mother Road and has a lot of history. It's sort of my generation.

"A friend in Lancaster rekindled my interest in recumbent bicycles. I was looking for something new and different to do."

Price and his wife, Sharon, left June 16, got to the Chicago area July 3, and returned home July 11.

Price originally had planned to ride 100 miles a day and complete the trip in 20 days, but he did not train enough and ended up bicycling an average of 30 to 40 miles a day, then riding in the truck to the next camp. He rode a total of about 700 miles.

"I only wanted to use part of my vacation and take 20 days to get there," said the 6-foot, 165-pound Price.

Price is not a novice in marathon bike touring. In the early 1980s, he and a friend did a two-week, 1,500-mile trip from Montana, where Price was living at the time, to Palmdale, where he grew up. It was on that trek that he encountered another rider riding a recumbent bicycle.

He and three others then did a 500-mile trip in Utah where they visited all the parks.

Sharon Price, 57, said her husband, to whom she has been married nearly 30 years, decided he wanted to do it for his 60th birthday. "It didn't surprise me at all. I did tell him the next adventure is mine," she said.

She was at first given the options of riding along with him or driving and setting up a tent every night, both of which she declined.

"I said we need to take a trailer and drive. As far as adventures, it's not unusual. We did the Peace Corps from 1988 to 1990 in Liberia. We were evacuated because of the civil war," Sharon Price said.

The bicycle David Price rode was the third he had built. He finished it a week before the trip.

"The first one didn't work out well," he said. "I didn't like the design. I built it from a design that I got off a Web site. You take two bicycles, cut them apart and modify them and use the components.

"I then decided to change the design by looking at other recumbents, but none of them had everything that I wanted so I had to have to my own."

Sharon Price said she would drive ahead to a certain point and wait for her husband, which was a good idea after on the first day between Llano and Victorville he got three flat tires.

"Even with cell phones, I had to be in close proximity," she said. "I was a support vehicle. All the spare parts were with me. I would wait, check if he had enough water and food, and drive on to the next spot."

David Price said the trip took he and his wife through eight states, where some of the original Route 66 still exists, some of it covered by freeway, some merely patches, paralleling major routes.

In places where there was no alternative to riding on a freeway, such as four-lane Interstate 40, Price pedaled on the shoulder. He said it was not a scary experience.

"You get used to fast-moving traffic and trucks," David Price said. "You have a wide lane to ride in. Truck drivers, most of them, almost always move over for you because they know they create a lot of wind."

Price, who teaches life skills, speech, debate, wood carving and drafting, has been at Challenger Middle School for 10 years.

He was born in Glendale and moved to the Antelope Valley in 1952. He graduated from Palmdale High School in 1960. The couple has lived in Llano for five years.

He went into teaching at a late age after having worked as a Southern California Edison lineman and as a chimney sweep and construction worker in Montana.

The most interesting site he encountered on his cross-country trip was on a roadside: a 25-foot-tall steel-framed fiberglass blue whale next to a little pond in Caloosa, Okla., that Price said was probably the first water slide.

"It had a ladder you could go up on and look at the eyeballs," he said.

Along the way he took 800 pictures with his digital camera and meditated.

"It's a real nice quiet time to think, plan and meditate. I do planning and problem-solving while riding," he said.

The couple returned home with an additional passenger, a six- week-old calico kitten they found up a tree near an ATM in Illinois. They named the cat Phoebe, Sharon Price said.

"David climbed up the tree and got her, and she came with us to Chicago and back home. Her first time to the vet, she weighed one pound," she said.

David Price said he wouldn't mind doing the trip again.

"There's no retirement in my future. I will continue to stay active and busy. Right now I'm in the process of remodeling our home," he said.

Karen Maeshiro, (661) 267-5744


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