A retired Sheriff’s sergeant who was known for riding his bicycle to work each day is taking on his longest ride yet, a 4,200 mile trek across the United States. Felton resident Harold Whaley, 59, decided 15 or 20 years ago that he would like to do a cross-country ride, but is only now finding the opportunity to do so.
He plans to leave from Seaside, Ore. on July 31 and arrive in Bar Harbor, Maine seven or eight weeks later.
Whaley is no stranger to long-distance rides. After retiring from the Sheriff’s Office in 2007 after 27 years on the job, Whaley completed a ride from Canada to Mexico, roughly 2,100 miles. Additionally, he completed a trip between Washington D.C. and Pittsburgh, Penn. and back.
“All have been solo rides,” Whaley said.
This time, he’ll have a companion.
Whaley will be accompanied by his wife Kanda, who retired from Cabrillo College in June after 34 years on the job. She will drive in their car along with him as his support and gear team, while also visiting the many sights along the route. The couple will sleep in hotels each night, rather than camp in order to have a more relaxed trip.
“We want to keep the itinerary open,” Harold Whaley said. “This is a ride to see the sights and see the country.”
But the sights along the Lewis and Clark route, using Adventure Cycling maps are only part of the journey. The Whaley’s aim to raise money for Project 41, a ministry of Scotts Valley-based Assist International to provide clean drinking water to farmers in Uganda.
Money raised helps farmers purchase re-purposed pool pumps powered by bicycles to pump water to farms in the impoverished nation.
“The program requires them to pay for half the machine and there has been a lot of success,” Harold Whaley said.
The couple is paying for the bicycling trip, so any donations that come in will go directly to the project. And donations have started coming in. Whaley topped $1,000 last week.
A serious cyclist
A lifelong cyclist, Whaley rode his bike from his home in Felton to the county jail and even to Watsonville for 27 years to work each day. A sergeant at the jail tagged him with the nickname “Spandoman” which stuck among his colleagues, he said.
He rides a completely rebuilt 1972 Follis bicycle that can be loaded with almost any type of gear. He does all of his own work on the bike and keeps it in tip-top shape.
“Sometimes Kanda wonders what I love most,” he deadpanned. “It’s her of course.”
Whaley has ridden in double centuries — 200 mile rides in one day — for 19 years and simply enjoys being in the saddle.
He keeps a running journal of his rides that can be found online at www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/crossingtheusa2013 .To donate to Project 41 in honor of Whaley, visit www.projectfortyone.org.