New Milford father and son plan cross country bike trip
NEW MILFORD — After years of advocating for more bike trails in town, Tom O’Brien looked elsewhere for bike-worthy horizons: all the way across the country, to be exact.
O’Brien and his son, Jake, 19, are training for a “C to Shining C Tour,” a two-man, three-month bike trip across the nation this summer.
As of last week, father and son were still arguing over the exact route they will take, but a draft map shows a 3,000-mile pedal-powered adventure that will take them from New Milford in late June to San Francisco in early September. Once in California, the two plan to fly back.
O’Brien concedes that a 3,000-mile bike trip isn’t what most families consider the best way of father-son bonding, but the trip is the culmination of four years of summer trips that Jake proposed.
“If a kid wants to spend three, four weeks with his dad, you sign on,” he said.
Past trips have taken the two hundreds of miles and have “really kept us from killing each other” over the years, O’Brien said. After the first few miles, “working the kinks out every morning,” the trip becomes “a zen way of life.”
“You just wake up, look at where you have to go to rest, and then go there,” O’Brien said.
O’Brien also has seen his advocacy produce results over the past year. He helmed the New Milford River Trail Association in a push to get some 15 miles of trail built in town, and this year the town is building a portion of trail along the Housatonic River near the Village Center.
Mayor David Gronbach has voiced support for trails, initiative after initiative, and the Town Council recently approved spending $193,000 to study the construction of eight miles of trail along the Housatonic.
Although Connecticut is the Land of Steady Habits, O’Brien said, it’s sometimes tough to get things done. But “this year, all of these are moving. [Gronbach] came into office really believing that this project is vital for the town. His support has been huge.”
As arduous as the summer trip looks, the two are trained and ready, O’Brien said.
The key to surviving the long summer together be housing
“We always shared a tent,” O’Brien said. “This year, we got separate tents.”
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