Cycle America riders stop in Philip

Though most bikes were traditional, some were of the recumbent pedels-out-front design. All the cyclists wore clothing appropriate for such exercise, especially helmets. Many relaxed Friday evening in the air conditioned establishments of downtown Philip.

Approximately 90 men and women bicyclists of the Cycle America tours stayed at the Philip High School the night of Friday, July 16.

The troup's members ranged from 18 to 81 years of age. Though 40 people are pedaling the entire journey, the rest of the group varies in size depending on the section or week of the coast-to-coast trip. The start was at Everett, WA, and the final destination is Gloucester, MA.

Greg Walsh, the main participating coordinator for this year's event, said that the leg that included Wyoming and South Dakota was the most popular of the entire nine-week package.

For this leg of the journey, the brochure stated, "A visual feast of diversity, this cross-state tour features some of the most unusual land formations on the planet, both natural and manmade. You'll start at Devil's Tower National Monument, then explore the unforgettable Needles Highway as it coils through the shadowy Black Hills towards the breathtaking Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse monuments. Watch for eagles, antelope, bison and prairie dogs as you cycle across the hills and plains of native America into Badlands National Park. Stop at the world famous Wall Drug before heading to Philip. This tour ends at South Dakota's capital, Pierre, an economic center for the state's cattlemen, farmers, businesses and government."

While in Philip, Walsh said, "It certainly does very well, with Devil's Tower, the Badlands, Wall Drug, Philip and on to the Missouri River, transitioning into the broadlands of the United States. Since 2007, people found it harder to think to take time off. This year, the economy helps and decades, such as 2010, seem to be milestones for people. It's a learning experience for them and for us."

It is an international troup, with some riders representing Australia, Holland, France, Wales and many American states. The group stayed in Interior Thursday night and looped through the Badlands Friday. They average 500 miles per week and around 80 miles per day.

"You can see the economy in the country, everyone smiling and the harvesting machinery running," said one bicyclist. One man from Wales said, "Most people are fairly nice. The most abusive spot during the entire trip was in Rapid City, where 'get off the pavement' was probably the nicest thing some people yelled at us. One woman from Georgia said, "It's beautiful, the people and the country. South Dakota is the hidden gem of America!"

Philip's Johanna Baye and Brenda Grenz headed a group in providing the travelers their evening supper and morning breakfast.