Pedaling Again

Repost from Illinois Times

“Recycled America”

Joe Bowen pedals all over the country — again

There comes a time in a man’s life where he feels at ease in a hotel lobby across the street from the state Capitol, dressed in a lime-green fluorescent jacket, black tights, and nylon-mesh shoes that are something between ballet slippers and football cleats. Joe Bowen is anything but in-between. He’s all-out — always has been. A former construction worker, Bowen is a student of history and literature who can tell you all about Miguel de Cervantes and John Steinbeck. Just look at his bicycle, a Trek 520 with ungodly fat tires that marries two giants of literature separated by more than four centuries. “Rocinante” reads the well-worn red lettering stuck to the bike’s dirt-caked frame. “That’s the name of Don Quixote’s horse,” Bowen explains. It is also, he adds, the name of Steinbeck’s truck, which the author drove across America, recounting the journey in the bestselling book Travels with Charley. Quixote’s steed was a broken-down nag, Steinbeck’s truck a 1960 GMC purchased new. Not quite two years old, Bowen’s bicycle is, at least, the equal of either. It has taken him to Canada. To Big Sur. To Mount Rushmore. To the Grand Canyon. To Niagara Falls. To Gettysburg. And now, today, to Springfield, less than 2,000 miles from home and more than 12,000 miles since he started this journey that defines meandering. (read more here)