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  • Fri September 04 2009
  • Posted Sep 3, 2009
Moline, IL By Dawn Neuses, dneuses@qconline.com He has seen the rolling hills, mountains and flat land of the United States from atop two wheels, carrying his home-away-from-home in baskets on the front and back of his bike. Chuck Carter, 58, has logged tens of thousands of miles on seven bicycles in 27 years. The Cahokia resident's travels brought him to Moline for the 2009 Illinois State Horseshoe Tournament this weekend. He made the 233-mile trip to Moline on his bicycle. It is not an unusual feat for Mr. Carter. "I've been everywhere," he said, naming off Canada and states such as New York, Wyoming, Nebraska, North Dakota and Washington. He favors the northwest the most, for the open space and freedom he feels, "but all (lower) 48 states have beauty," he said. His bike is weighed down with baskets filled with a tent, sleeping bag, chair, one burner stove, coffee pot, clothes, patch kit, and a tape player with a tape inside he labeled "Boogie music" to listen to as he is riding. He got to Moline traveling Highway 67, camping at night on the side of the road. "People think I'm crazy," he said. When Mr. Carter takes a long trip, such as his 21-day journey to Syracuse, N.Y., he takes off the rear baskets and uses a small trailer. Riding 10 to 12 hours a day tires his back and arms, but nothing, even past injuries, holds him back. When Mr. Carter was younger, he lost his toes to frostbite in a hunting trip in the mountains. He has an artificial knee and said his rib cage is held together with wires after he was stomped on by a bull when he worked in the rodeo. "I always liked adventure. I always did what I liked to do," Mr. Carter said. There are difficult aspects to bicycling everywhere. "I hate construction," he said, adding he hates drivers on cellphones even more. When he sees one in his rear-view mirror, he'll stop peddling and let them pass. He also doesn't like people who don't follow the rules of the road, specifically the one on page 70 of the Illinois drivers manual that says motorists must honk before turning in front of a bicyclist. He wishes he had thousands of copies of the manual to pass out to motorists. Mr. Carter enjoys participating in horseshoe tournaments. It is not easy, he said, explaining that repeatedly throwing a 2 pound, nine ounce shoe 40 feet, trying to get it around a one inch peg, can get tiring. "After you throw 200 shoes, they feel like they each weigh about 200 pounds," he said. Mr. Carter has done well, he said, winning the the World Tournament in his division in 1994. He'll be participating in the doubles tournament on Saturday and the singles tournament on Sunday. At home he mows lawns and details cars and trucks — mostly for police officers — to earn money, he said. He's been in the detail business for 30 years. The lessons Mr. Carter has learned on the road are many, but one sticks out more than the rest. "Ninety-eight percent of people I meet are friendly," he said.

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