Former Mena Couple Cycles from Denver to Mena
BY LEANN DILBECK –
Cyclists ride with many different motivations: fitness, relaxation, adventure but Sidney Foster will tell you that his 1,000+ mile tour from Denver to Mena was all about “testing” himself.
Cycling, namely touring, is wildly growing in popularity. “Sid” said he thought most of the appeal with the masses is the adventure it offers but Sid’s story is unique and that it not only involves adventure but includes a test of self, returning home, and proposing a life-altering question.
Sid left his Denver apartment on October 5 accompanied by the love of his life, Aimee Loftin, who is also a Mena native. Sid graduated in 1998 from Mena High School and Aimee graduated in 1999. The two knew each other in school but didn’t become involved romantically until four years ago.
Aimee will tell you that she has always been athletic but admits that her enjoyment of cycling is not quite to the passion level that Sid has for it. Sid works in a cycle shop in Denver and Aimee is a freelance graphic designer and yoga instructor.
To make this epic journey was a dream of Sid’s and planning began over a year ago. He built each of their bikes, studied the different paths, and concluded on taking what is known as the Trans-America Byway.
Aimee said looking back the trip was a bit ambitious for her being newer to cycling and said it definitely proved to be a huge challenge. “As much as I’ve enjoyed it, I do think it was a bit much for my first one.”
The two averaged riding 6 to 9 hours a day, (60 miles average) and on some days, terrain would vary from pavement to dirt. Night times were fairly evenly divided between motels or camping.
Sid said they had a very detailed plan but many of the planned stops didn’t offer the amenities that they had assumed would be available and so they would continue on to the next town.
While Aimee assumed “the plan” was always about logistics, packing, etc., little did she know that Sid’s ultimate plan was to be able to propose to her in their hometown. But after they crossed the Arkansas state line, Sid decided that was home enough and sprung the question to her at the photo-op at the Arkansas state sign. “I just couldn’t wait any longer…I had been planning for months.”
He said despite the journey’s challenges, it was well balanced with meeting a ton of amazing people and that never along the trip did they ever feel “threatened.” But said the wind in Kansas proved to be their biggest enemy.
Their desire is to bring more awareness to the young sport in hopes that not only will more become involved but vehicular traffic will be courteous to those they encounter on the highways and byways.
As for Aimee… she said her next ride will be less ambitious and much shorter with less daily demands. “Maybe along the West Coast, New Zealand… or an island,” she giggled as the two are already making honeymoon plans because as you might guess, she said “yes.”