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Alumni bikers on six-day journey to reach village for Reunion Weekend
6/04/12

Alfred University’s (AU) "Bikers from Mars," (Mars, PA, outside Pittsburgh, that is) are on their way to campus for Reunion 2012 festivities, June 8-10.

The crew left Mars on June 3 and expects to enter the village of Alfred Friday (June 8) afternoon in time to begin weekend activities on campus. During the six-day trip, the bikers will travel 266 miles.

The core bike crew includes David Conrad ’76, Roger Eiss ’58, Jim Randall ’77, and Dave Perry ’61 and his wife Kate, veterans of the 2011 bike ride from Lake Placid.

David Holleb ’77 has signed up for the final three days of the six-day trip; he’ll pedal from Coudersport, PA. Richard Rygiel ’76 plans to join up either Bath or Hornell for a day or two. Peter Stull ’75 (proprietor of the bike shop in Alfred Station) will ride the final day from Hornell, along with, to judge from the 2010 and 2011 trips, others from the Alfred community. Ed Law ’58, who rides his pre-World War II bike, second-hand bike - a gift from his dad - with no gearshift to help him climb hills, will also ride the final few miles of the trip.

Past Alfred University Reunion bike trips have crossed the Poconos for (’03 and ’08 Reunions), the Catskills (’10) and the Adirondacks (’11). This year the bikers will cross the Alleghenies!

The 2012 journey will take the riders from Mars to Clarion, PA; then from Clarion to St. Marys, PA; then on to Coudersport, PA; from Coudersport to Bath, NY; out of Bath to Hornell; and finally, from Hornell to Alfred.

Conrad, an avid biker, says the exercise helps him stay in shape since he works a job that requires him to sit at a desk five or six days a week. He says he’s ridden a bike from Maine to Florida, across Iowa, and participated in a 10-day staged ride.

"I’m no Lance Armstrong," says Conrad, bank president of Citizens National Bank Putnam, CT. "I do it to test myself and keep the pounds off."

Eiss says he was a complete couch potato as an Alfred University student. He recalls when he was about 27 a doctor told him after a physical that he had never seen someone his age in such poor physical condition. He says today he spends a minimum of two hours per week on an exercise bike and he uses a bike in France when he visits his in-laws there every other year.

He first traveled to Reunion Weekend with Alfred graduates across the Pocono Mountains in 2008.

"I had a wonderful time and was hooked," says Eiss.

Holleb says he also didn’t ride a bicycle at Alfred.

"I played lacrosse and drank beer instead!" he laughs.

Holleb says he was hesitant to buy a bicycle.

"I finally bit the bullet and purchased a Bianchi road bike. This will be the longest ride I have ever attempted. It is nice to train for a goal and get in shape at the same time."

Eiss explained coordinating the trip included calling bikers on the alumni news website, finding lodging, arranging a dinner at Hornell’s Sunset Inn, and providing transportation for luggage.

The riders say they prepared for the trip by having their bikes tuned and increasing their training schedules.

Conrad says if high temperatures accompany the riders, it won’t be a problem.

"I enjoy riding in the heat," says Conrad. "As long I stay hydrated, it doesn’t bother me."

Eiss says he’s looking forward to the great time he will have with wonderful people during the trip.

"We have already started planning the 2013 ride," says Eiss.

"More people should do this!" says Holleb. ?