Jay couple return from coast-to-coast ride

"We had four flat tires," said Mike; "not bad considering our bike fully loaded, with us on it, weighed 450 pounds. We were able to dodge most thunderstorms, or sit them out in the shelter of a building or front porch. Headwinds were only occasionally a problem."

In the meantime, they took by-the-mile pledges from friends to support North Country Public Radio and Mountain Lake PBS. Altogether, they raised more than $3,000 to be split between the two organizations.

Still, as they recalled beautiful scenery and friendly greetings, the Battistis agree the experience was intrinsically rewarding.

"By bicycle, we were so much more dependent on services in the small towns that we couldn't help but reconnect with small town America," Mike said. "The trip was like the longest geography and American history field trip you could ever take."

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