Terry Stille bikes all of Washington County
“I moved to the area in 2013, and soon fell in love with cycling in the Afton and Woodbury area. That grew into a personal challenge to ride my bike on every single highway, county road, and public street in Washington County,” said bike enthusiast Terry Stille, currently residing in Woodbury.
Though riding is something that Stille has enjoyed most of his life, the idea of cycling every street of Washington County would be intimidating to most. Stille, however, had one sign that pushed him towards the feat. “My birthday is April 23. When I learned that Washington County had 423 miles I thought that was an omen to complete this challenge,” he said. “So, I averaged 20-30 miles per trip and used three bikes over the six seasons.”
After committing to the challenge and riding for a number of years in Washington County, Stille was finally able to complete the goal he set out for in September of this year.
“I started GPS tracking my activities with a phone app beginning in the spring of 2014, and finally completed the obsessive task this fall,” he said. “I now have a composite GPS map of my coverage to prove this feat, which took me five and a half years. That includes 423 square miles of the county, including all of the 31 cities and townships, and requiring around 7,000 miles on the bike.”
Riding through all those communities certainly included meeting good people, seeing unique sights and eating good food. Thinking back on his many long rides along the way, Stille reflected on one of his first through Scandia.
“One of my first long rides in Washington County was the 65-mile ‘Minnesota Major’ River to River ride out of Afton, and up to Scandia and back,” says Stille. “I do remember how nicely maintained all the roads in Scandia were. And I had a wonderful dinner on the patio at Meister’s in Scandia.”
Traveling through town after town is exciting by itself, but Stille also had his share of opportunities to appreciate the nature of Washington County. Some of the parks and encounters with wildlife left a lasting impression on Stille.
“Washington County has pleasantly surprised me with its beauty, it’s lakes, and its wildlife including deer, turkeys, coyotes, fox, rabbits, waterfowl, and raccoons,” he said. “I did also bike through William O’Brien State Park, and was impressed so much that I came back twice this summer to camp with family. I also believe the Wilder Forest is beautiful in that area.”
Everybody has his or her own passion. For Stille, that passion is clearly cycling. While many might find this giant mission a bit too difficult, Stile pushed his passion to the limit and came out with a great achievement and better sense of his community.
“Cycling is my passion, my ‘Cycle Therapy,’ and my Gym,” he said. “I love the peace, the freedom, getting outside and this was my chance to do something that nobody else has completed.”