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This is one of my rare appearances in the tabloids. At least they didn’t take the story into the normal domain of such rags; it’s generally pretty accurate except for the assertion that I built a computer at the age of 13. I love the photo, though… that was taken during the Winnebiko II adventure down the West Coast, in one of Oregon’s coastal towns. Click the pic to embiggen.

December 2, 1986
Photo by Janis Miglavs

STEVE ROBERTS is undaunted by the idea of riding 10,000 miles around America on a bicycle. But then, this is no ordinary bike.

The aptly-named “Winnebiko” features: five working computers, a speech synthesizer, a ham radio, a satellite data link, a TV, twin air horns, an electronic compass, alarm system, CB radio, stereo system, cassette deck for dictation and digital shortwave receiver.

Super Bike Has All the Options - Star, December 1986

All this equipment is powered by two bike-mounted solar panels. The 34-year-old former computer whiz from Columbus, Ohio, is on his second journey around America. He built his own computer at 13, and by the time he was 21, he had his own computer-consulting firm. But he got plain sick of it; so he sold it and made his first journey.

Roberts writes magazine mi

about his adventures to pay his way, and has just finished a soon-to-be-published book, Computing Across America: The Bicycle Odyssey of a High-Tech Nomad.

On his first trip, he had to remember all the day’s events until the evening, when he could record them in his journal. Now he has a small keyboard, so he can write while he rides.

He plans to ride down the West Coast, then travel through the Rockies, across the Great Lakes area, through New England and down the East Coast.

With a cruising speed in the mid teens, he figures he’ll log 65 miles daily.

And they will be 65 very tough miles. After all, the 36-gear bike weighs 220 lbs. — not including the rider. And despite all its fancy, high-tech gear, it’s propelled by good, old-fashioned leg power — the only thing that’s even remotely normal about it.

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