Reporting Bill Hudson
DULUTH, MINN (WCCO) — In a Duluth hotel room, Kris McNeil and Zach Chase spread out the maps and gear on their beds.
From dried foods and a first aid kit, to a book on speaking French, all are crucial items to guide them the next three months.
With their tour bikes and aerodynamic trailers, each loaded with roughly 50 pounds of gear, the two former University of Minnesota-Duluth college buddies are ready for an adventure – they’re set to bike around the shorelines of all five Great Lakes.
“Right now, we’re looking at around 60 miles a day, approximately, for 97 days,” Chase said.
McNeil and Chase hope their 5,300-mile “Big Water Bike” trek inspires people to learn more about the world’s largest source of freshwater. It’s a natural resource vital to both the region’s economic and environmental way of life.
The duo will also take along the latest communication and global positioning system (GPS) equipment to allow followers to keep track of their daily progress. Spot-tracker GPS will use the team’s daily coordinates to locate them on the trip’s website – www.bigwaterbike.com.
“We wanted to show people what we are doing,” Chase said. “And allow them to see it in a more personal way. And kind of inspire them to do their own trips like this.”
In addition, they will be taking video of the entire journey to document the people, places and problems they encounter along the way. When the trek ends, they hope to produce a feature-length documentary film of the journey.
“This is a great versatile camera,” Chase said. “It’s fully waterproof, so that even on rainy days we’ll be able to film.”
McNeil said the anticipation has been building.
“We’re just really excited to be out on the open road and be able to fulfill that sense of exploration,” he said.
Follow their adventure on the Big Water Bike website at www.bigwaterbike.com.