Meet Lucinda Chandler, AKA “The Pink Panther:

From March 17, 2007 until May 12, 2007 Lucinda rode her Catrike Road Trike from San Diego, California to St. Augustine, Florida.  Over 3000 miles.

In the last couple of days I’ve seen a couple of articles about trikes (3 wheeled bicycles) over upright bicycles for long touring.  The trikes are a lot slower, but, I’m not riding across a continent with a time frame in mind, nor do I have to be anywhere at any particular time.  So, the ability to move quickly isn’t necessarily a requirement.

Then again, I don’t want to take 8 hours to ride 40 miles.  I found this video of a kid riding a Catrike Expedition.  At one point, going downhill, he reaches nearly 40 MPH:

I’ll talk more about Catrikes in a bit.  Back to Lucinda.

What caught my eye was the title of the blog entry of the 2nd day on the road:

This day is horrible!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yeah, that’s the same font size she used.  First paragraph:

Up, up, up, and more up. Oh, I forgot, up, up, up with the sun beating down on me! I hate mountains, I hate hills, I even hate the flat parts. I hate my gear and want to throw it all away and I even hate my trike! Why am I doing this? What was I thinking? There is no reason for me to be putting myself through this torture. For what purpose? Why, why, why? This totally sucks! I’m not going to make it. I’m an idiot for thinking that I’m so strong.

Been there. Done that.  Got the T-Shirt and the Mug.  And the DVD.  (The director’s cut.)

But Lucinda soldiered on.  Through horrendous headwinds, poring rain, riding on Interstates (she’s the second person who’s mentioned taking their bikes onto the Interstates.  I’m going to have to investigate that), Lucinda found time to get massages and get her hair done on a pretty regular basis.

She always writes about the folks riding with her.  I’m generally pretty stupid when it comes to remembering names.  In a story, if the person being referred to isn’t “important,” say, a minor character, I don’t pay attention to the names.  In reading through her blogs, I didn’t pay the least bit of attention to her co-riders.

Which gave me a sweet little surprise when she mentioned this upon reaching Florida:

I can “fess” up now! Many of you have probably already figured it out. I have made efforts to appear as if I was not alone for the sake of safety, both on the journal and especially when I stopped and spoke with people along the way (such as making references to cyclists that are both in front of me and behind me and to a “support vehicle” following me, etc….).

With the exception of periods of time that I have documented below, I HAVE TRAVELED ACROSS THE COUNTRY ALONE ON MY LITTLE PINK TRIKE!

All across the United States, people have been amazingly kind, drivers of vehicles have been very courteous and patient, and for the most part, even the weather has been cooperative.

I know there are lots of very bad things that go on in this world, but I truly believe that there are more good, kind, generous and caring people in life and have not feared going out on my own.

I hope I have shown that a person, a woman in particular, can go out into this world alone, with confidence, and do something spectacular!

That’s impressive.  Oddly enough, just this past weekend I had a conversation about how strong and independent women are extremely attractive.  I’ve never understood why “women in general” (not all, mind you, just a generalization) will “settle” for being taken care of by a man.  Wouldn’t a lady rather stand on her own?  To have an equal partner?   I guess I don’t get the whole “Cinderalla / come rescue me, White Knight On A Horse” thinking.

Lucinda seemed to be that kind of lady.  Independent.  Strong.  Happy to blaze her own trail.

Which meant the last entry in her blog, written by her daughter, was sad:

Unfortunately, our beloved Lucinda passed away on July 22, 2010. My family is devastated to have lost such a wonderful and beautiful light in our lives and it means a great deal to see how much my mother has impacted so many people. Although it comes as no surprise to me, I see that she touched the lives of many of the folks in the cycling world, and beyond.

Lucinda did touch me, though she’d been gone for 2 years before I ever knew she existed.