Tribute bike ride from Rock Hill to NY nears halfway mark in Virginia

07/23/2014 1:57 PM

07/23/2014 7:24 PM

Pedaling into Richmond, Va. on Wednesday afternoon, Jay White neared the halfway mark on his 700-mile bike trip from Rock Hill to New York. The cycling journey – dubbed “75th Year, Still One Gear” – is a tribute to the ambassador tour White’s great-grandfather took in 1939.

White left Rock Hill four days ago, launching from the Giordana Velodrome on his one-speed bicycle named “Old Betsy II.” Seventy-five years ago, his great-grandfather, James Spratt White II, rode “Old Betsy” on his trip to the World’s Fair in Flushing, N.Y.

The re-enactment takes White through six states over 10 days. On Tuesday, he pedaled over the state line into Virginia, where he met with local business representatives with the South Hill Chamber of Commerce. He arrived in Richmond around 2:30 p.m. Wednesday.

White is chronicling his trip on a Facebook page and website about the “75th Year, Still One Gear” journey. After enduring some stormy weather in North Carolina earlier this week, he wrote about tackling the hills of Virginia on Wednesday.

White also plans to stop in Fredericksburg, Va., and from there he’ll ride “Old Betsy II” north to Washington, D.C., and Baltimore, Md. He hopes to arrive in the nation’s capital by Friday.

He’s scheduled to arrive in New York by Tuesday. At the end of the trip, he plans to ride an Amtrak train back home.

Since White can’t legally ride his bicycle on interstate highways, he’s using county and state roads and thoroughfares to pedal across six states.

The rough terrain already has caused one flat tire. White stopped in Wake Forest, N.C., on Monday to repair the tire before continuing.

White, 47, is a Rock Hill native who now lives in Mount Pleasant. An exhibit featuring Rock Hill’s cycling history, including his great-grandfather’s contributions, is on display at the White Home near downtown. Historic Rock Hill is sponsoring the trip and the exhibit.

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