Just four days shy of pedaling into New York City – where his journey of more than 700 miles will end – Jay White crossed into Delaware on Monday afternoon on the “75th Year, Still One Gear” bike trip, which began in Rock Hill nine days ago.
White, 47, is making the trip to honor his great-grandfather’s “ambassador tour” from Rock Hill to New York in 1939. Along the way 75 years ago, the 61-year-old James Spratt White II met with politicians and writers in several states he cycled through. His message: “Rock Hill is a good town.”
This month, Jay White’s bike trek has put him in mayors’ offices, meetings with local business leaders and many bars and restaurants, where he has spread the “good town” word. White’s bike – “Old Betsy II” – is named after the one-speed Columbia bicycle his great-grandfather rode from South Carolina to New York.
Last week, he made a pit stop at the Poe Museum in Richmond, Va., before riding “Old Betsy II” to Fredericksburg, Va., and later to Washington, D.C.
In the nation’s capital on Friday, he met with U.S. Rep. Mick Mulvaney, R-Indian Land, and took a tour of the U.S. Capitol.
Before reaching New York City later this week, White plans to stop in Philadelphia and Princeton, N.J. He’ll also visit the old grounds of the World’s Fair – his great-grandfather’s ultimate destination in 1939 to promote the city of Rock Hill.
At the end of the trip, White plans to ride an Amtrak train back home. He is chronicling his trip on a Facebook page and website about the “75th Year, Still One Gear” journey.
White 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.