Norm Smith is a cross country traveler

Most people fly, drive or take a train across the United States.

Norm Smith rode his bicycle.

The Saratoga Springs resident recently completed a cross country ride with America by Bicycle from Oregon to New Hampshire that encompassed more than 3,600 miles, 10 states and one Canadian province.

It was something I thought about my whole adult life, said Smith, who turned 63 years old this year. "I'm just an ordinary guy, and I wanted to do something that was slightly extraordinary."

The 50-day trip wasn't an easy one. The route Smith and 46 other bike riders followed took them over the Rocky Mountains, through the flat lands of the upper Midwest and over part of the Appalachian chain, with each stage lasting from 80 to 120 miles. On the third day, the bikers had to travel 117 miles and climb more than one mile in altitude as they traveled from Oregon to Idaho.

"When you have day after day of 80 miles, 90 miles, 117 miles, it does get to be mental," said Smith.

Complicating matters for Smith was that he can only see out of his right eye. A degenerative eye disease cost him his left eye in 2004, and it's threatening to do the same to his right eye.

"The worst thing is the (lack of) depth perception," said Smith. "And the other riders learned that if there were two riders riding abreast, I couldn't have anyone on my left for any extended period of time."

Fortunately for Smith, he didn't encounter too many problems on his ride. He had a spill in Casper, Wyo., but didn't suffer any significant injuries. He also had to replace both of his tires, and his gear shifter failed at one point in the journey. As luck would have it, though, it happened as Smith and the rest of the tour group arrived for their overnight pit stop in Latham.

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