64-year-old cyclist makes trek from Denver to Carolina

By Jennifer Lassiter
star staff
jlassiter@starhq.com

  It's a simple task if you take it day by day, according to Larry Holt, a 64-year-old from Denver Colo. who began a cross-country trek on a mountain bike May 21.
  "It wasn't really a planned thing," said Holt while traveling through Elizabethton yesterday, stopping only shortly to enjoy an ice cream cone in Valley Forge. "I wanted to do biking and camping in Denver, but just never got around to it; so, I decided to visit my mom, who is eighty-four."
  Holt also needed time to reflect on the loss of his daughter, which he said he wasn't able to speak about until a recent stop in Missouri. Having kept his emotions bottled up for a long time, Holt said he is using the trip to release his frustrations and take time to heal while on the road.
   An avid cyclist who said he hasn't had a driver's license in 10 years, Holt opted for a more scenic route. His love for bikes grew in a Rocky Mountain city designed for outdoor lovers.
  Holt re-built bikes while in the city which is home to the Denver Broncos and giving the bikes away to people in need of two-wheel transportation was a hobby of his. Last year alone, Holt said he gave away 15 to 16 bikes. "People back home call me 'Bicycle Larry'" he said.
  Traveling 2,304 miles total, Holt made it to Elizabethton from Mosheim yesterday at an average rate of 8.7 mph. He tallies his mileage from a speedometer connected to his handle bars. Holt is now on the last leg of his trip with only approximately180 miles left to his final destination.
  A daily log bears the name of the people and places he's met along the way. He plans to write a novel about his adventures one day.
  Pulling a wooden wagon he built for his red, steel Mongoose mountain bike, Holt hauls everything he needs to survive, plus some luxury items. His 2-by-3 cart attached to his bike weighs a moderate 60 pounds and is adorned with an American flag he rigged up using part of a fishing pole, an American flag handkerchief, and Gorilla glue.
  "If you want to find out about the spirit of the American people get out of the city and travel through the rural parts of the country," he said.
  Holt carries camping gear, showering gear and six sets of clothes. He prefers cut-off jeans and sleeveless shirts. He has lessened his load along the way, sending unnecessary stuff to his mom when needed. "I started this trip with a waffle iron, but I just got tired of cleaning it," he said.
  Everywhere Holt has been so far he has been greeted with kindness. There have been rare instances when he has been turned away from camping in certain areas. Local churches and local city governments have accommodated him along the way. Adventure Cycling prints maps specifically for bikers traveling across country. They include rest stops, restaurants, post offices and hotels. Currently on Section 10 of the map series, Holt is doubtful he will attempt an adventure like this one again.
  When asked why he's doing this and that some people will say he's crazy, he responded, "Well, if you'll recall our forefathers traveled this great land by horse and wagon, and without a trail, so I've actually got it made."
  In no hurry, Holt hopes to be in Boone in a couple of days if rainy weather doesn't delay him much. He takes it one day at a time. Once he arrives in Asheboro, he has plans to speak at the local high school. "I'll tell them you can do anything you set your mind to, and you can." said Holt.