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Overcoming allergies leads cyclist on long journey

Food allergies saved Stephen Kuhn from his dream of using his bike throughout the nation whereas he was in faculty, however 15 years later, these allergies helped him obtain his dream.

Kuhn rode his bike from Florence, Oregon to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina this summer season. Kuhn averaged 122 miles per day on the 4,031-mile journey he accomplished in 33 days.

The 2006 Jacksonville High School graduate began biking at an early age. Kuhn’s grandparents, Alex and Mary Cole, moved to Jacksonville earlier than the Kuhns arrived. His grandfather loved cross-country biking and Kuhn was hooked.

“I went with my grandpa; 15 or 20 miles seemed like a lot. As I got older, I started driving longer distances. Then I had a dream that I would like to drive across the country,” stated Kuhn.

But Kuhn needed to be cautious when using as a result of he had meals allergies, seasonal allergies, eczema and bronchial asthma. He has anaphylactic reactions to peanuts, tree nuts and shellfish.

“That can be a problem because granola, peanut butter, and jelly sandwiches are staples for cyclists who eat on the go,” Kuhn stated.

Kuhn was energetic in biking whereas finding out at Washington University in St. Louis. As a member of the teams he was concerned with on organized cross-country journeys, he was unable to attend as a result of the teams have been unprepared to take care of somebody with meals allergies they usually have been unwilling to simply accept legal responsibility for a extreme response whereas driving .

Drinking fountains and eating places the place different cyclists would cease are too dangerous. He must also have taken every thing he wanted for his experience, together with meals, water, an EpiPen and an inhaler.

After leaving college and beginning his profession as a mechanical engineer in St. Louis, Kuhn now not had the summer season break that may have allowed him to take three months off.

When the pandemic struck, Kuhn and his spouse Adrienne Knapp determined they wanted to remain energetic, so that they obtained off their bikes and biking turned part of on a regular basis life once more.

“I could do a 200-mile ride in a row over the weekend,” stated Kuhn. “Then I instructed my grandma that I’d finished 100,000 miles in the course of the pandemic. She instructed me I used to be able to drive throughout the nation.”

A experience appeared like an ideal alternative to lift consciousness about meals allergies and lift cash alongside the best way. Kuhn paid all bills for the journey and all cash raised goes to Food Allergy Research and Education or FARE.

“When I was younger, not nearly as much was known about food allergies, and the internet didn’t exist,” stated Kuhn. “My family dealt with allergies as best they could. My family relied on FARE to learn about food. They were a big part of my early life.”

He began routes, planning the logistics, and speaking to his boss about break day. With that settled, he rented a leisure automobile and the journey was set. His mom, Helen Kuhn, of Jacksonville, and his aunt, Heather Cole, drove Kuhn west to the drive’s start line. They then escorted him again to St. Louis, the place his spouse took over driving for the rest of the journey to South Carolina.

Kuhn usually adopted the TransAmerica Trail. It begins within the northwest and meanders by way of Idaho and Montana, then south by way of Wyoming and Colorado earlier than heading east by way of Missouri.

“The RV allowed us to stop wherever we were and pick up whatever food I could eat. We saw things that we wanted to go back and visit,” Kuhn said. “A lot of the rides across the country are big groups or one person with a lot of gear. I could just bike as fast as I could because all I had was in the camper.”

The roads Kuhn took have been paved, however usually small county-highways. In Wyoming, the place the velocity restrict is 80 mph, the roads did not have onerous shoulders.

Perhaps surprisingly, the toughest a part of the journey was the RV.

“Tyre problems in Wyoming were a challenge. We had to stop for the day and find a place to fix it,” stated Kuhn. “In Appalachia, a pickup truck pulled my spouse off the street and the RV’s awning obtained caught in a tree, so we needed to take care of that. There have been tough roads that the motorhome did not all the time deal with nicely.”

The experience was difficult, however nothing Kuhn wasn’t anticipating.

“There were some issues with riding that many miles a day — repetitive use injuries and muscle strains, but that’s to be expected,” Kuhn stated.

One detour that Kuhn referred to as enjoyable was the drive to the highest of Pike’s Peak.

“It was the toughest climb of the trip,” stated Kuhn. “That was one of the fun challenges and detours I wanted to take.”

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