Rosebud Reservation Men Pedal For Diabetes Awareness
by Tom Hanson, Anchor
November 20, 2011 12:08 AM
Two South Dakota men recently returned from the trip of a lifetime. They rode their bicycles from the Rosebud Reservation, to New York City. Their goal was simple. They wanted to make a difference and get people thinking and talking about diabetes.
We caught up with them on Highway 18 just outside Mission. Abel Harmon and Charles Ginsbach ride one behind the other. It's something these two friends are used to after riding halfway across the country together less than two months ago.
It all started with a desire to make a difference. Abel, an avid and experienced cyclist, decided he would make the trip himself. Much to his surprise, the day before he was leaving, Charles decided to join him.
"I have family members who are diabetic I have friends who are. I know so many people who are diabetic I just said I’ll ride for the cause too," said Ginsbach.
So Charles was going to ride too, but there was one problem. About to embark on an 1800-mile trip, Charles didn't have a bike.
"We headed up to Rapid City, and we searched around all day, I finally found one, a good road bike," said Charles.
Watching him ride now with 80 pounds of gear, including a tent, you see an experienced rider, but Charles admits those first few days as a "road rookie" were a challenge, And Abel, glad to have the company, was hoping his friend could keep up.
"You know he works in an office all the time, didn't do any training, I thought I didn't know if he would make it, but he did,". said Harmon.
"I learned about myself, what I'm capable of my spiritual self. my mental self just built a lot of character," said Ginsbach.
During their trip the pair stuck to less traveled roads, even making their way to other reservations.
We asked if there were any close calls.
“Yea there was once where a vehicle came it seemed like inches!” said Harmon.
Everywhere they stopped, from Wisconsin up into Canada, they talked to people about diabetes. The cause kept them going when Mother Nature, gave them wind, dust and rain in their faces. Abel says battling the weather is the hardest part of any road trip.
“You are moving along about 4 miles an hour, just can't hear anything but the wind blowing past your ears can't hear what vehicles are coming up behind you," said Harmon.
In the end, for Abel, pedaling into New York City was extremely satisfying
"It was a long journey, it took 23 days I was definitely happy, I was ready to get some New York Pizza I guess," said Abel laughing.
Abel made it all the way to New York City. Unfortunately, doctors pulled Charles off the trip in Syracuse, New York because of severe saddle sores. He says he pedaled his bike right up to the front door of the hospital emergency room.
Charles and Abel are members of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe and made the trip with the support of the Rosebud Diabetes Prevention Program.
Both say they will do other long distance road trips, and in fact they are already making plans for next summer, hoping to get others to ride along.