By John Lauritsen

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — We all have goals in life.

To run a marathon. To visit Europe. Maybe you want to learn another language.

It took a Woobury man nearly six years and thousands of miles to finish one of his longtime goals.

In this week’s Finding Minnesota, John Lauritsen shows us why Terry Stille biked every road in Washington County.

“There’s a sense of freedom when you are out there. I like being outside in the fresh air. I call it my cycle therapy,” Stille said.

There’s no telling where the path of life will lead you.

Stille has a bad hip to thank for a pretty big accomplishment. Surgery in 2005 meant the end of his running days, but the beginning of something else.

“I picked up a bike and started biking and never stopped,” Stille said. “I was just doing one, two, three mile things, just for exercise, to keep the hip moving and to get the muscles built back up,” Stille said.

During his bike rides he fell in love with Washington County and the scenic beauty it offers — then he got an idea.

“I realized I was never going to be the fastest cycler or go the longest distance. But I wanted to do something nobody else has done,” Stille said.

A big part of Stille’s day job is mapping, so he began to map his rides when his three-mile rides turned into eight, then 12 then 20. He started using an app to keep track of where he was going, and that’s when he realized he wanted to bike every single street, highway and alley in the county.

“We’d see him coming and going on his bike. Sometimes he’d leave the house and go on a trip and sometimes he’d be coming back and we’d see him unloading his vehicle with his bike in it,” neighbor Matt Keller said.

Stille worked the major roads first in the south, and then moved north. From the narrow alleyways of St. Paul Park, to the steep hills of Stillwater.

“Stillwater was the big test. I put that away until the end of this summer and finally started chipping away at that,” Stille said. “You are talking every cul-de-sac. There are hundreds and hundreds of cul-de-sacs in Washington County. They aren’t always fun to do, but I did every one.”

Rain or shine, wind or sleet, he biked through 31 cities and townships. From Hastings up to Forest Lake. He learned a lot along the way.

“Finding parts of Washington County I didn’t even know were there. I didn’t know we had a forest in Washington County. Many people don’t. It’s pretty cool,” Stille said.

It took him nearly six years and about 7,000 total miles, but in September, he crossed the finish line and crossed off a bucket list item. He wasn’t trying to inspire anyone but himself, but journeys like this one don’t go unnoticed.

“I posted it on Facebook. This is what I’ve been doing for 5 1/2 years, I’m finally done. And the response from Facebook friends was pretty overwhelming,” said Stille.

“It’s not just seeing stuff. You are hearing things and you are smelling things. And you got the wind in your face and it’s just awesome,” Stille said.

Stille said his next year he hopes to bike all six river bridges in Washington County, which he thinks he can accomplish in a day.

John Lauritsen

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