Hydrobike Bike Trip UP the Mississippi River
Posted by John Rakush on
Steve & Ken's EXCELLENT HYDROBIKE ADVENTURE.
A Hydrobike ride from the Gulf of Mexico UP the Mississippi River to St. Cloud, Minnesota.Let's start at the beginning of the beginning.
In 1972 Steve Anderson and his brother Bruce rode bicycles from St. Paul, Minnesota, 1500 miles to Pensacola, Florida.
In 1982 Steve Anderson and Ken Rogers rode bicycles 10,280 miles to all 48 contiguous United States from July 20th, 1982 arriving back in Minnesota on February 5th of 1983. Ken has recently published a book about the trip. Steve turned 30 years old during that trip and he and Ken shook hands and vowed that when they were somewhere in their 40's they would attempt another adventure.
Well, Here is how the Mississippi River started, told by Steve himself.
I was a fastener salesman (basically selling stainless steel nuts and bolts) for 13 years. One day in the early spring of 1993 I saw a Hydrobike being demonstrated on a lake close to my home in Minneapolis, Mn. Being the good fastener salesman that I was, my eyes went directly to the nuts, bolts and screws used on a Hydrobike and I could see that they were stainless steel so I grabbed a brochure just to get their address so that I could possibly sell them some screws.
After reviewing the brochure and checking out the bike a little more, I noticed it was propeller driven, and for some weird reason I remembered my hand shake with my best friend and biking partner, Ken Rogers, and either an angel or a demon whispered in my ear, "Hey, Maybe this could be your next adventure. Something on water instead of roads."
A couple weeks later I was in the offices of Hydrobikes, Inc talking to the inventor of the bike, Ray Buresch. He wasn't convinced that my stainless fasteners AT ALL, but he was interested in me.
Ten years prior to this meeting he had been a regular listener to the radio station Ken and I would call into every week (KSTP AM 1500). He knew all about our 10,000 mile bicycle trip.
Ray and his sales staff had just had a sales meeting the week before my call on him and the main subject of the meeting was a publicity stunt to set a record going DOWN the Mississippi River and if this was a good idea , who should they get to do it. EUREKA!!!! I am now standing right in front of him. He asked on that very day if I would be interested in setting this record and here was my response, "Sure, But do you think these Hydrobikes could make it UP the river?" HOLY COW, that was all it took. Ray was excited and from that day forward to the day that Ken and I started riding on July 4th of 1994 , it is a story all in itself of all the things that had to come together before Ken and I could leave. ( For instance, Ken had to lose some weight. He was probably hoping I had forgotten the hand shake. ) Ken and I had to get leaves of absence from our jobs. (Talk about having to use sales skills when you have to ask the president of a national company for a leave of absence to take a Hydrobike trip)
Ken is in the process of writing about this trip. I think you will find the story to be very inspiring, scary, incredibly adventurous, and just a very good story of some real good buddies who set another spiritually and physically challenging goal.
I will try to keep updating this page to give you some glimpses of the trip itself. We went through, not around, every lock and dam in the whole Mississippi River system. Wait till I tell you about what we had to demonstrate on our Hydrobikes just so the lock masters would let us through.