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CNY's biking brother near end of journey

The longest ride in a day was 137 miles in Wyoming after cresting the Continental Divide; the number of flat tires so far: 17; the worst day of the trip: 18 miles straight up in the Cascade Mountains of Oregon.

These memories and much, much more are the experiences brothers Pearson and Peter Constantino described Sept. 25 at the Skaneateles Library.

The title of their talk, "The Long Bike Back," is a tale of triumph over near death, the decision to cross the United States by bicycle and their mission -- to raise awareness for safety on the road.

"We have seen too many white bikes along roads," Pearson said. "Drivers need to give cyclists more room; cyclists need to use hand signals. We can both share the roads; no one needs to die."

The brothers began their 3,500-mile bicycle journey Aug. 12 in Newport, Ore.; the trip will culminate soon in Cape Cod, Mass. They chose Route 20, what Pearson calls the Main Street of America, for their trip. It is familiar to them since childhood, when they began cycling Route 20 with their father through their hometown of Skaneateles. Also because "it is the oldest continuous route in the United States that goes from east to west," Peter said.

They were preparing to make such a journey when tragedy struck Pearson in late June 2006, halting their plans. He was cycling near his home in Pelham when an SUV struck him in the back, the driver leaving him at the side of the road. He lay there with a severe concussion, shattered hip, broken back. A Good Samaritan came along and rescued him. Surgeries followed, as did months of rehabilitation.

"I spent that summer in a body brace, had a second surgery in October; physical therapy helped me learn to walk again and in February 2007 I started biking," Pearson said.

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