Two-wheeling through foreign land
May 8, 2003
Some walk with a backpack. Others rent cars, ride trains or take planes.
A few, like El Dorado County Superior Court Judge Jerald Lasarow, travel through Europe by bicycle.
For the past couple of years, Lasarow, 61, has taken three summer weeks from his schedule and traveled to Europe with other members from a Sacramento bicycle club.
Riding along clean roads, seeing the back country and visiting small towns are some of the benefits of traveling through Europe on two wheels, Lasarow said.
“Lots of places I’ve seen bike riding I wouldn’t ordinarily see sightseeing,” he said.
Lasarow’s 27-speed has touched pavement in Germany, Belgium, Holland, France, Italy and Luxembourg. This summer it’s Austria.
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The judge is a Sacramento Wheelmen member. The club, which organizes rides throughout California, has two routes of various lengths for riders. All riders converge at the same resting place.
Lasarow, a Death Ride participant, takes the longer route and bikes up to 90 miles per day.
Some days the club meets up with other bicyclists, many from other countries, for a day for organized rides.
“It’s a great diplomacy for our countries, I think, because we set aside our differences,” Lasarow said.
Sacramento Wheelmen members usually wear identical jerseys which correlate with the particular country, such as lavender jerseys for the flowers found in the French countryside.
A 50-passenger bus, used for sightseeing and carrying luggage, stays with the riders for the three weeks.
“It’s just a great experience when you get over there,” said fellow Sacramento Wheelmen member David Moffett, a retired Harveys Resort Casino employee. “People just certainly go out of their way to be nice to you, especially when you’re out on a bicycle.”
Moffett recalled a time in Belgium where “everywhere you went you could get a chocolate bar.”
Wine festivals filled the weekends while riding in France during the harvest.
“It’s kind of like a chili cook-off except it was wine,” he said.
Both riders experienced the thrill of seeing “Go Lance” painted by spectators on French backroads which were used for the Tour de France. American Lance Armstrong has won three straight Tour de France races and will try to tie the record this July.
Lasarow and Moffett, 69, ride with their wives as well and a group of about 30 bicyclists from 45- to 75-years-old.
An Internet search finds a slew of other European bike tour organizations and travel bike books can be picked up at a local bookstores.
— E-mail William Ferchland at email@example.com