A father and daughter pedaled antique high-wheel bicycles up to Key West’s Southernmost Point marker Saturday afternoon, concluding a ride of just over 2,000 miles that began on the U.S.-Canadian border.
Randy and Amy Oleynik (pronounced Oh LENN ick) started their journey on Oct. 9 in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, at the northeastern end of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.
They celebrated its conclusion at the Key West marker that delineates the southernmost point in the continental United States, jubilantly lifting their 132-year-old bicycles as spectators cheered their achievement.
“It’s our second ride,” said Randy Oleynik, a 61-year-old pharmacist from Carleton, Michigan. “We rode from San Francisco to Boston in 2016, and after that, we decided we should do the north-to-south to complete basically the ‘holy grail’ of high-wheel biking across the country.”
Randy Oleynik said he became interested in the Victorian-era cycles when he was asked to join a high-wheel bike band in 1992.
He and daughter Amy, a 30-year-old who works for the University of California in Davis, are part of a national organization that collects and restores antique bicycles.
On their trek from Michigan to Key West, the father-daughter duo rode about 60 miles per day, accompanied by a support van driven by Randy’s wife and Amy’s mother.
“When people see us going by, number one they smile, so it’s a great reaction,” said Randy Oleynik. “They wave, they yell, they beep their horns, they swerve, they’ll stop their cars in the middle of the road.”
Amy Oleynik said she hopes the ride, which she and her dad undertook for the sheer adventure of it, will inspire others to seek out enjoyable moments and challenges.
“What we want this ride to tell people is, number one, get outside,” she advised. “Get out there — you’re definitely never too old to learn how to ride a bicycle.”