Persons, places and things: Spring Brake


By Barb Arland-Fye

“Hey, I know you!” a bicyclist yelled out as he passed me on the Duck Creek Parkway Trail in Dav­enport. He caught me deep in thought as I walked on the trail that pleasant April afternoon and I didn’t recognize him as he sped by. He backtracked to stop and say hello.


When he took off his sunglasses and smiled, I instantly recognized Jim Tiedje, lead organizer of our Pedaling to the Peripheries RAGBRAI 2018 team and an active member of Sacred Heart Cathedral in Davenport and the Serra Club.

Jim had just finished a 40-mile plus bike ride with a group from the Quad Cities Bicycle Club, and I admit to being slightly envious. A busy work schedule meant spending quality time at the desk — with a short break for a walk — rather than taking off for a bike ride. As a newbie to RAGBRAI, I need to put in some “seat time” on my bicycle, Jim says, to meet the challenge of riding across the state of Iowa the last week of July.


We talked for a few minutes about the details of our team’s participation in RAGBRAI (Bishop Tom Zinkula will be our spiritual leader) and then headed our separate ways. I’ve been riding a stationary bike in the basement this past winter season that overstayed its welcome.

Sporadic days of good weather over the last couple of months permitted a few bicycle rides outdoors, but not enough for this writer/rider who savors witnessing God’s presence in nature.

Saturday, the day after my chance encounter with Jim on the Duck Creek trail, the weather appeared acceptable for a bike ride despite an overcast sky. I prepared to ride to Davenport to visit my friend, Gail, but headed back inside the house to add an additional layer of clothing before taking off.

With the wind at my back, I breezed through the outskirts of LeClaire, connecting with the bike trail at the eastern edge of Bettendorf, and then onto the Duck Creek trail. Gail lives just a couple of blocks off of the trail in Davenport.

Individuals undergoing chemo­therapy treatment are encouraged to remain active and to exercise, especially to walk. But we also are advised to avoid overtiring ourselves. Being active relieves stress for me. However, I’ve discovered the tipping point between activity and fatigue involves trial and error. My body lets me know, but sometimes, too late!

After an enjoyable visit with Gail, I got back on my bike and headed home, riding into the wind. Resistance battered my back muscles and legs. The woods and creek that provide so much joy along the way on other days seemed more like an obstacle course. Energy reserves were depleted. My husband Steve reminds me that I need to put “fuel in the motor” to be able to handle and enjoy the exercise. He is right, of course. I arrived home feeling exhausted and disappointed.

The disappointment was short-lived. God blesses me with hope, optimism and a sense of humor. Prayers and love have been guiding me on this journey to wellness. Every bicycle ride, exhilarating or challenging, is an opportunity to give thanks for the journey. Three months to RAGBRAI, Jim!

(Editor Barb Arland-Fye can be reached at

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