Ellsworth Bike lane Man pedals 1500 miles home -- from Fla. to N. Mich.

By Sheri McWhirter

Petoskey News-Review

ELLSWORTH, Mich. (AP) -- Tyler Rose recently returned to Northern Michigan, a 1,500-mile trek by bicycle.

"It was actually to see the family," he said.

Rose, 25, a former East Jordan High School student, moved to Florida about four years ago and last saw his mother two years later. He decided to pedal home this spring, a long-haul bike ride he'd long dreamed of completing.

"I love to ride and I've always wanted to do a tour," Rose said.

He left Clearwater, Fla., at 9 a.m. on April 20 and during the recent weekend reached his mother's home near Ellsworth, right at the Charlevoix County line. The challenge became complicated by a headwind 24 of the 29 days he traveled on his Scott Metrix 40 hybrid bike.

"I rode six hours a day, on and off. I camped. Every seven days I got a hotel room and took a day of rest," Rose said. "I never walked up any hills. I pedaled the whole way."

His days off came with plenty of sleep and also sudsy beer -- large doses of needed carbohydrates for the continuing physical challenge, he laughed. The trip cost him between $500 and $600.

Rose made the trip alone, unable to convince anyone to accompany him on the strenuous journey. He lost 25 pounds during his country-crossing trip, despite daily consuming between 4,000 and 5,000 calories.

The route took him through the Deep South, across the Smoky Mountains, through hundreds of miles of Midwest corn and soybean fields and nearly the entire length of Michigan's Lower Peninsula. "Nobody wanted to go with me. Nobody had it in them," he said.

But Rose did.

His friends and family tracked his progress on a Facebook page dedicated to his progress, 1500 Miles by Bicycle. He updated his status and posted pictures of his journey, complete with camping sites. He charged his smartphone with a solar panel attached to his handlebars.

"My ankles would get sore and I only had four flat tires, but no other mechanical problems," Rose said. "There's nothing bad about riding a bike unless you get caught in a rain storm."

Rose said he wants to advocate motorists sharing the road with cyclists and also promote safe road cycling. He experienced a couple of close calls with large vehicles, including a cement truck, so Rose said he knows the very real dangers road cyclists often face.

Rose's mother and stepfather are Patty and Dave Rosensteel, of Ellsworth. His father and stepmother are Randy and Trudy Rose, of East Jordan.

"I thought it was just remarkable that he accomplished a goal that he wanted to do. His passion in life is bikes. No words can describe how proud of him I am. Not everybody will reach for their dream," Patty Rosensteel said.

Rose, a professional bicycle mechanic, hopes to find work at a local bike shop, as he hopes to stay in Northern Michigan through this year's holiday season. Then he will return to Florida, where he expects to take over running an existing shop there.

Published: Tue, Jun 19, 2012