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Retiree bicycling from Maine to Florida, blogs about journey

The group from the Adventure Cycling Association dipped their bikes in the water in Bar Harbor to represent the official start of the tour.
Courtesy of The Maine Lobser Crawl

By Jodi Hersey

Special to The Weekly

Give Greg Lobser two wheels and he’ll travel the country. The Ohio bicyclist took his first long bike ride shortly after graduating from college around 1972. He traveled from Ohio to New York, then onto Canada and into Maine before eventually settling here for two years.

Now that he’s recently retired, Lobser has returned to Vacationland to do it again. This time he’s cycling from Bar Harbor to Key West, Florida with a group of other riders from the Adventure Cycling Association and writing about his journey on his blog called “The Maine Lobster Crawl”.

“Bicycling is very engaging. If you go out for a ride on a bicycle you can go for 100 miles and that’s a real challenge and you can see all kinds of sights and scenery,” explained Lobser.

Maine had some tough challenges of its own 40 years ago when Lobser chose to stay here with only $60 in his pocket and his bicycle as his only means of transportation.

“I met some friends that were students at University of Maine in Orono. They told me about an offer from a guy who had a cabin on Lake Pushaw. The cabin wasn’t insulated, there was no running water, but he wanted to pound down a well. The deal was if you could do that and if you hit water, you could stay in the cabin over the winter,” Lobser said. “So I came out and pounded down this well at a little log cabin on the other side of the lake. With a second pipe, probably approaching 20 feet, something broke. We checked it out and put a copper pipe down there, there was maybe a foot of water down there. He said to me, ‘Well that’s all you needed to do. You get to stay here for the winter.’”

Fast forward several years later and Lobser’s day to day life consisted of working on jet engines for Pratt & Whitney in Florida and later crunching numbers and data for United Launch Alliance, jointly owned by Lockheed Martin and Boeing in Denver, Colorado.

“It’s surprising how many bicyclists you’d find at United Launch Alliance. I’m one of many,” said Lobser.

Since retiring from his desk job, Lobser has been able to go riding more frequently. His latest bicycle journey is expected to take two months and will cover approximately 2,900 miles. Lobser said the bicyclists will stay at various campgrounds, hostels and a few motels throughout the trip. They will also take turns sharing the cooking duties.

“Typically the way we do it is you split off, two of you at a time will be in charge of cooking and the rest will be relaxing. You have to do the food, come up with the recipe and come up with something for 13 people and you don’t want to screw up,” he explained with a chuckle.

Lobser is looking forward to every mile and every state he sees along the way.

“You just kind of forget about everything else in the world. You do have a real focus [on a bike] where you can’t be thinking about other things going on in your life quite the same if you were sitting down in a chair somewhere,” he said.

He’s just as excited to visit some familiar areas as well.

“When I got married, we moved to Florida for a couple years. We’ll be going through the town of Jupiter where we lived on this bike ride,” Lobser said.

What better way to begin a memorable trip than to return to where it all first began.

“I haven’t seen or met anyone else writing a blog on these trips yet. Writing a blog, staying engaged with people, getting photos into the post and yet you’re on a bicycle and off the grid or out of cell service will be an additional challenge,” Lobser explained. “A two month ride is a really nice thing I can do now that I’m retired. I’m not worried about going back to work. At the end of it, I’ll just be getting back to beautiful Colorado and my wife and family.”

To follow Lobser’s journey, visit www.lobstercrawl.net/maine/blog.

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