The nearly 100-degree heat didn’t stop Steve Lindbeck from biking 88 miles from Owatonna to Winona on Monday.
But a broken derailleur almost did.
Lindbeck’s gear shifter broke as he was leaving Owatonna, gnarling up his bike chain. Luckily, a bike shop in Rochester was able to get him back on the road, and Lindbeck rejoined his fellow Big Ride Across America cyclists for the rest of the day’s journey.
Big Ride, an annual fundraiser for the American Lung Association, brought together 18 cyclists this summer who have raised more than $160,000 as they bike across the country from Washington state to Washington, D.C.
Bikers hail from across the U.S. Lindbeck, from Anchorage, Alaska, raised nearly $30,000 for the ride.
Lindbeck is a big supporter of the American Lung Association, but he also has a personal stake in raising money and awareness.
Lindbeck’s wife, Patty Ginsburg, was diagnosed with stage 3 lung cancer in 2004.
“Her odds of being here today were not very good,” he said. “She had to go through all sorts of awful treatments.”
Before the diagnosis, she was training for her 12th marathon.
She has competed in four since.
Ginsburg is also on the board for her regional lung association, the Mountain Pacific, and Lindbeck is biking in part to show his gratitude for their work.
“We want to do anything we can to give people the hope that we had,” he said. “Since I was 13, I wanted to bike the country.
“Every place has its own kind of beauty, and 14 miles an hour is a good way to see it.”
Today’s leg runs from Winona to Viroqua.