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A non-vicious cycle

Pennsylvania man makes bike trek to Santa Clarita Valley to visit his cousin

Posted: January 24, 2014 2:00 a.m.
Updated: January 24, 2014 2:00 a.m.

From left, Pam Rose, Mike Rose and his cousin Marina Jarocki stand for a portrait at the Valencia Travel Village. Rose took a bike trip from his Pennsylvania home across the U.S. to see Jarocki, who lives in Valencia. Signal photo by Charlie Kaijo.

Diehard cyclist Mike Rose bicycled across America to see his cousin in the Santa Clarita Valley — and now that the visit’s almost over he’s going back home, cycling across America again.

Rose, 58, who lives in Pennsylvania, arrived at his cousin’s doorstep five days before Christmas — and just two days after she found his Christmas card under a pile of other letters in her Valencia home, warning of his arrival.

“I was very excited,” Jarocki said in an interview this week. “I was waiting all year, waiting for them to arrive.”

Rose’s traveling support staff is his wife, Pam, who drives a motor home so she can travel with him.

Asked if her husband is addicted to cycling, Pam Rose nods her head. “It’s not a bad addiction,” she adds. “If he doesn’t ride, he gets edgy.”

Rose only started cycling a few years ago when other exercise proved too “jarring” on his body, he said.

Nationwide route

His plan to cycle across the country to visit his cousin was hatched a few years ago during a 600-mile trek to see his wife while she was visiting in another state.

“My wife was in North Carolina when I was in Pennsylvania. It was hot and dry and I decided I was just going to ride my bike to see her. I did 600 miles in six days and I said, ‘Well, I can do this.’”

“It beat me up pretty bad,” he said. But it didn’t deter him from pursuing a vigorous cycling regimen.

“Three summers later, in 2001, we were talking about retirement. I sold my (landscaping) business,” he said.

That’s when Mike and Pam Rose determined to set off for California — he on his custom-made hybrid bicycle, she traveling alongside in a motor home.

Mike Rose’s white bike with the fat tires is modified to accommodate his sore back. It’s equipped with raised central handlebars, which allow for a comfortable leaning posture whenever he encounters “heavier winds.”

Rose said he’s had no harmful spills and no traffic collisions.

Wolf encounter

There was, however, an encounter with a wolf in New Mexico.

“I was chased by a wolf in the mountains of New Mexico. It spotted me and we actually made eye contact. He actually came up onto the road. I wasn’t sure how friendly he was. He toyed with me a bit.

“He could have had me anytime he wanted me, but he didn’t,” he said.

Of all the states and small towns he’s cycled through — and he’s seen hundreds across more than half the country — Rose said he was most taken with Southern California and, specifically, with the Santa Clarita Valley.

“I’m very impressed with this area in Santa Clarita,” Rose told The Signal during an interview at the Valencia Travel Village RV park where he was temporarily based. “This is a fantastic place to bike.

“I didn’t know what a paseo was until a month ago,” he said. “For someone like me who is a long-distance cyclist, the paseos are excellent. I like them for getting around neighborhood to neighborhood.”

The city of Santa Clarita is home to more than 60 miles of off-street trails and paseos, which are used for a variety of purposes including cycling, walking, jogging and skating.

Day trips

Since arriving in the Santa Clarita Valley and meeting his cousin, Rose has cycled from Ventura to Pasadena on day trips, as well as to Lake Hughes.

“I like to go in different directions and explore,” he said. “I went down to Pasadena because I wanted to check out the Rose Bowl.”

But at the time of the interview Monday Rose was itching to get back on his bike and begin his journey home. He headed out the next day.

The easy route would be setting out for Nevada and continuing east, but that just wouldn’t be Mike Rose.

His chosen route back home to the East Coast is by way of San Diego.
on Twitter @jamesarthurholt


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