» Ahead of him, a really long ride


A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Ahead of him, a really long ride

Written June 13th, 2018 by Hasso Hering

Brann Smith stopped in Albany Wednesday on his way across the U.S.  He started in Astoria.

There are easier ways to reach the East Coast, and quicker ones. Brann Smith, however, aims to get there the hard way — on his bike.

On Wednesday Smith came through Albany, where he’s no stranger. Every summer he brings his hot-air balloon to an Albany event, and four years ago he got married in town. He likes the place, and maybe he’ll move here some day.

For now he’s from Chico, Calif., from where he operates his Skydancer Balloon Co. Before he did that, he had a career with Nike, running the sports-wear company’s loss-prevention department.

He’s 62. So why cross the country on a bike at that age? He and a pal made the trip in 1976, and they resolved to do it again when they were “old.” They were thinking of “old” meaning their 40s, maybe.

So now, it’s a case of better late than never. And he’s making the 4,229-mile, three-month trip to Yorktown, Va., by himself. This allows him to stop when he wants, meet people and shoot photos. (You can probably follow him on  Facebook under “Banns’ Bike Trip 2018.”)

Lise Grato of the Downtown Association called me Wednesday to tell me Smith was in town. So, in the afternoon I went to chat with him. From where I started, my round trip for the interview was a whopping two miles. But at least it was on a bike too.

To hear Brann Smith talk about his adventure and all the stuff he carries with him — if you can hear him through the noise of downtown street construction — check the video below. (hh)

[youtube video=”3PWOTGPqqtQ”]

5 responses to “Ahead of him, a really long ride”

  1. Dick Olsen says:

    Nice story. Neat guy. Hope he does move to Albany

  2. Doug Klinkebiel says:

    Three months on a bicycle during the summer seeing this incredible country? I’m envious. Safe travels, Mr. Smith.

  3. Dave Sullivan says:

    Once again, a super interesting story about local events. How do you come up with all these entertaining ideas?

  4. J. Jacobson says:

    “Whenever I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the human race.”
    — H.G. Wells

  5. North Albany Guy says:

    There is also a self-supported bike race over the same route. They went through Albany earlier this month, and the first riders have just made it to Yorktown in a little over 16 days.

    Follow the dots at:



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