Sunday, Jun 24, 2018
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100,000 miles of cycling: Swanton teacher to talk about his trips


Larry Lindsay was in Toledo Thursday with his bike. He has gone across the United States twice.

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When Larry Lindsay was 5 years old, his mother thought she had lost him - but he had simply ridden his tricycle more than 5 miles away from home.

Mr. Lindsay, who spent his boyhood days in Point Place north of Toledo, says he was born to ride.

But he is no longer riding tricycles - he has since traveled well over 100,000 miles and twice across the United States on a bicycle.

"I enjoy riding because when you're on a bike you get to experience a lot more than you can in a car," said Mr. Lindsay, a Swanton resident and science teacher at Airport Community Senior High School in Carleton, Mich.

He founded the Naturalist Scouts, an outdoor adventure group for boys, when he was a student at the University of Toledo. He graduated from the school with a bachelor's degree in ecology.

In 1982, he led a group of boys on his first biking trip across the United States, from Washington state to Toledo. He did it again in 1988 from California to Toledo.

These and other trips are the topic of Mr. Lindsay's free public lecture at 7 p.m. today at the Swanton Public Library, 305 Chestnut St., where he will display his bicycle and an array of pictures taken on many trips.

Mr. Lindsay, 61, recently published a novel titled Across, incorporating his adventures into a fictional account.

On a recent spring afternoon, he reflected on some of his fondest memories, such as seeing the snow-capped mountains of western Montana where he once went down a mountain highway at 60 mph; riding across Yellowstone and Yosemite National Parks; and riding through Nova Scotia and Quebec where he and his troop of scouts cleared 400 miles along the St. Lawrence River last summer.

An environmentalist whose childhood dream was to become a park naturalist, Mr. Lindsay said he decided to start a scouting group for teenagers to give them an appreciation for nature and life in the outdoors.

"As a park naturalist, you take a group of people through the park and then never see them again," he said. "But when you spend enough time in the outdoors, you really begin to appreciate nature."

That is also why he decided to pursue a master's degree in education at the University of Toledo, so that he could teach earth science to teenagers.

But life on the road and in the outdoors is more than anything about giving teenage boys a sense of responsibility and self-sufficiency, he said.

When Mr. Lindsay takes a group of boys on a trip, they have to learn how to live on $12 a day with four outfits of clothes, a rain coat, a tent, small stove, and their only transport, a bicycle.

"There's nothing worse than taking a car on a bicycle trip," he said. "It encourages laziness."

Every summer since 1985, Mr. Lindsay has been the organizer of the Maumee Valley Tri-Adventure Race. This year's triathlon, which will be on May 14 at Independence Dam State Park in Defiance, Ohio, begins with 6 miles of canoeing on the Maumee River, backpacking 8 miles and biking 35 miles.

For Mr. Lindsay, who has to compete for time with other activities and the busy schedules of high school-age students, contends that he only seeks to make his boys appreciate "how lucky we are to be on this planet."

Contact Karamagi Rujumba at or


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