The trek was 1,400 miles and it began in Covington, La.
Since the age of 3, Troy “Wild Child” Lerwill has been riding a bicycle – and he has never stopped.
At the age of 50, Lerwill, a three-time barrelman at the National Finals Rodeo (2006-08), embarked on a 1,400-mile bicycle ride from Covington, La. to Key West, Fla.
“I love to ride,” said Lerwill, who has been a PRCA member since 1997. “I owned a bike store for 23 years and I just sold it two years ago. I’m an avid cyclist and I wanted to do this. After I finished working the Fort Worth (Texas) Stock Show & Rodeo, I spent a couple of weeks getting my stuff ready for the ride and I took off. The coolest part about the ride was all the people I met along the way.”
Lerwill’s journey began on Feb. 18 and concluded March 25. He was picked up by some friends who brought him back to Covington, La., where his truck and trailer were.
“I had about six weeks off after I finished Fort Worth, so I had time to make this ride,” said Lerwill, who was the opening act at the NFR in 2001 and 2003. “Now, I have some rodeos that are starting up down here in (Louisiana).”
Although Lerwill is no stranger to bike rides, this 1,400-mile trek was new to him.
“I never done something this long and just by myself,” he said. “I’ve ridden across the state of Utah and I rode from Wyoming back to Utah, and from Utah over into Nevada, but nothing this long.”
Not only did Lerwill brave the elements on his touring bicycle – he also was living in the elements each night.
“I just took my tent and my hammock,” Lerwill said. “If the weather permitted, I stayed in the hammock and if it didn’t I stayed in my tent. Then, it took me three days to get through the congested area from St. Petersburg (Fla.) all the way to Naples, and there were no campgrounds, so I had to stay in three hotels. I didn’t want to do that, but I didn’t have much of a choice. I slept under two or three bridges and I tried my best to stay in state parks and campgrounds.”
According to Lerwill, he averaged about 55 miles a day for six days a week, and then he would have one day of rest.
“I’m always trying to grow and learn and experience new things, and this was something I wanted to do,” Lerwill said. “Mentally and physically this was very challenging. I was on the bike between five to seven hours a day. Your body needs conform to all the new things that are happening that it’s not used to. I prepared well, and it turned out great. I cooked my own meals and I pretty much lived on fruits and vegetables the entire time. I did have half a dozen pieces of Key Lime pie when I was in Key West.”
Lerwill acknowledged this type of bicycle trip will likely not be his last.
“It was very gratifying to complete this journey, and I’m probably going to do some more long-distance adventures,” he said. “I think this is just the beginning. I would like to ride from Vancouver, British Columbia, down to Tijuana (Mexico). The soonest I could do that ride would be 2019, but I’m probably going to do another ride after Fort Worth next year, I just don’t know if I’m going to go back through Florida.”
Courtesy of PRCA