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Professor to Ride 1,000 Miles on Hand-Powered Tricycle

062804tricycle_dl.jpgBOONE – After a knee and hip replacement, avid cyclist Al Alschuler can no longer extend his leg far enough to peddle his bicycle. But that’s not stopping the Appalachian State University professor from leaving July 1 on a 1,000-mile journey up the East coast from North Carolina to Massachusetts.

As he marks his 65th birthday, Alschuler is riding north to a family reunion—and he’s doing it on the only kind of cycle his body can handle: a hand-powered tricycle. He has been training since early winter and has 18-inch biceps to prove it.

” To get ready, I lifted weights all winter and then began riding as soon as the snow melted,” he said.

Alschuler knows the trip will present him with what he calls the “Three H’s of Triking Hell”: heat, humidity and hills. Yet, he sees the journey as a way to transcend the difficulties of aging and to find graceful ways of accepting loss. Specifically, he wants to practice alternative, Zen-like treatments for pain and to determine cycling strategies for older people that enhance speed without overtiring.

” All the problems of getting older are apparent in this trike. I hope that what I learn can be helpful to other people,” he said.

He has already started writing a book about the experience, tentatively titled “Trike Trek: Giving a Middle Finger to Old Age.”

In his writings, Alschuler opines of the journey, “It’s an opportunity to achieve a sense of humor in the midst of fatigue and pain in my body-sack, a challenge to earn humility from the humiliations of pooping out or getting ingloriously lost, an invitation to appreciate life’s ironies, contradictions and paradoxes when I want to quit.”

Alschuler estimates that the trip will take about three weeks.