Pedaling Through My Past


Pedaling Through My Past


One Stationary Bike + Google Maps = Incentive to Exercise

A post by Nancy Espersen:

January 1st rolled around this year with the same resolution: To ride the exercise bike every day.

But how to maintain the momentum?  Perhaps logging the number of miles each day with the goal of reaching a destination?

But where to?

How about my childhood home in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  I Googled directions from Hillsborough to 3707 E 54th Street, set up an excel spreadsheet to keep track of the miles and started pedaling.

Almost 6 months and 1,181 miles later, I reached my destination:


Minneapolis Minnesota

This photo was taken in March 1951. For some reason my parents felt compelled to pose my brother and me in front of our house.  On the back of the photo my mother wrote “snow, snow, and more snow.”  As I look at this picture I remember praying for snow days when I was in school.  It took a major snowstorm to close the schools – I have the feeling this would have qualified.

After “arriving” at my first destination, I checked the spreadsheet and found I had only missed eight days of exercising.  There were definitely times I did NOT want to get on the bike but the thought of getting behind on the schedule got me moving.

Once on the bike sometimes I would barter with myself saying that if I went five miles that would be enough, only to find once I got to five I could then get to six and even seven (my goal for each day).

Buoyed by the success of the first six months, I selected another route.  This summer I biked from Hillsborough to New England “visiting” cities where my husband, Gordon, and I had lived.


Newport Rhode Island “fixer upper” (700 mile marker)

I kept telling Gordon that this could be a nice house and he would laugh.  In 1994 we took the plunge, bought the house and started renovating.  The location was perfect – in an historic neighborhood only a block and a half from Newport Harbor. The views of Rose Island, the Green Light and Newport Bridge were amazing. 


 Next up was Providence Rhode Island (735 mile marker).


We lived near Brown University and Benefit Street.  On our nightly walk Gordon would quiz me on the various architectural styles of the houses.

The final stop – Plymouth Massachusetts (791 miles)


Gordon’s new job at Ocean Spray brought us to 99 Court Street in 1988.  Whale watches, Thanksgiving at Plimouth Plantation and cranberries come to mind when I think about our time in Plymouth.

Even though I upped my goal to 8 miles per day, this round seemed to be easier.

Many times I would bike 9 or even 10 miles.  Perhaps this is because I was reading a book rather than watching television.  And I had more milestones on the spreadsheet. It helped to see that I had just crossed the border and was now in Virginia or that I had arrived in Washington D.C.

So where will I go this fall?

A tour of Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois and Michigan reminiscing about childhood vacations.

nancy and gordon

Nancy Espersen writes, “Gordon and I have called Hillsborough home for the past 13 years.  There is so much to offer in our little town (history, arts, special events) and we love being a part of it. “

7 thoughts on “Pedaling Through My Past”

  1. I LOVE this idea! What a super motivation to keep with our exercising goals. And coupling it with places you’ve loved in your past is just the icing on the cake.


  2. What an incredible idea for motivation! I, too, need some sort of destination or marker or something when I bike. It’s easy when I bike outdoors; after all, I have to get back home. But biking indoors is definitely a motivational challenge. Thank you so much for the idea AND the tour. I’ll be anxious to see your next ‘stop.’ I hope you share it with us here. 😉


  3. this is such a clever solution to a could be boring activity….loved the addition of the homes you lived in too……way to go Nancy


  4. Thanks everyone for your kind words. Am currently making my way through Minnesota and will “arrive” in Minneapolis in time for Thanksgiving. I hope to share my memoies with you next spring having made my way through Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois and Michigan. It is quite the journey with many memories.


Comment on this post

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s