Rick Stiles, Cross-Country Cyclist
Name: Rick Stiles
Occupation: Retired Engineer
Place of Residence: Billings, Montana
Background and Personal History: Rick Stiles is 66 years old, lives in Billings, Mont., with his wife Margie, a semi-retired nurse, had heart issues several years ago. Rick claims he is a little overweight and a lot under-exercised. Rick and Margie have a son, Eric, who is lives in San Antonio, Texas, with his wife Laurie. Eric is a software engineer for HEB, and Laurie is a 7th-grade biology teacher. After spending seven years in the naval submarine service, Rick spent seven years designing automation equipment and 22 years working for Whirlpool Corporation in St. Joseph, Mich.
After retiring from Whirlpool, Margie and Rick moved to Montana. They currently live in Billings but have a cabin in the Beartooth Mountains near Nye. As people often say, Montana is the last best place; and they are so right. Our cabin has spectacular views of the Stillwater River on one side and the Beartooth Mountains on the other. The Stiles have enjoyed horseback riding, ATVing, hiking and fishing in the great outdoors.
Current Projects: Last fall (2012) Rick was asked to partake in this 3,600+ mile experience by a friend (he is currently rethinking the 'friend' designation). He is retiring June 2013 and wanted to do a bike ride as a gift to himself. Fortunately for Rick, Tom is a pastor; if Rick should keel over after sucking serious wind cranking up some steep incline he hopes Tom will say a brief prayer as he continues to ride forth.
Uh, why? That is the ultimate question on most of my friend’s lips. Why in the world would I want to bicycle camp for three months through cold and rainy and blistering hot weather, up and down rough hilly shoulder-less roads, and risk getting stuck with a broken bicycle in the middle of nowhere?
Rick realized, after much thought, that he wanted to see what was out there: up close and personal. He wanted to see the beauty in all types of situations. He wanted to meet people in small towns and hear their stories. What better way to experience our country, its wonderful sights and friendly people, than sitting on a bicycle going 10-15 miles per hour? Besides, think about the stories some of these people can share with their friends about some crazy dude pedaling his %$&*# across the country on a funny looking recumbent bicycle.
In his existing blog, GoingBent.com, Rick is trying to cover the many details involved with preparing for the trip: bicycle type and accessories, pannier choices, gear to support the trip, planning the route, and physically preparing for the trip. Hopefully his information can be used by others dreaming about a similar bike ride.
Once the trip starts, Rick want to discuss the roses: the beautiful soft pedals, the plain green leaves, and the sharp hidden thorns. What happened along the way, who did he meet, and how the thorns were handled? Rick wants people to feel that they went on the ride with him; he wants them to see pictures of the people and see the sights that made the trip special; he wants them to smell the same roses he smelled.
Other Fun Facts: For several years Rick and Margie operated a photography and picture framing business in Absarokee, Mont. Rick's photography has been published in national magazines and is hanging in homes throughout the country. Besides various photography awards, he was profiled in Popular Photography magazine and was once selected as the Epson Phototrekker of the Year.
Anything having to do with his hands is a wonderful and exciting challenge for Rick. He builds furniture, enjoys vegetable and flower gardening, loves to tinker and repair anything mechanical or electrical, and has remodeled every house he has lived in and has a small magical entertainment business. Margie is fond of saying that almost every hobby Rick has has run amok at one time or another. More recently, Rick has been active in developing custom websites and doing graphic design for various companies and churches, and getting back into bicycling.