Underwriting provided by:
'Turn, Turn, Turn'
By Marcia Franklin, Producer
'Turn, turn, turn' follows a grandmother and granddaughter as they traverse the 86-mile-long Weiser River Trail in West-Central Idaho. With a twist: it's the grandmother who is the experienced biker, not the grandchild.
Ruth Peabody of Fruitland, Idaho, didn't take up cycling until her late 50s, and in a big way: she signed up for a cross-country trip with WomanTours, a group out of Driggs, Idaho. (For a piece on WomanTours, check out the Outdoor Idaho program, 'Cycling Idaho.')
“I really thought when I left San Diego that there's no way I'll finish this trip alive,” says Peabody. “But each day was better than the last and we all got stronger. And I can't explain the feeling when we got there. People would say, “Oh, I bet you're exhausted.” And I always said, “I feel like I'm 18.”
It would be the first of countless biking trips that Ruth would take, including one cycling the United States from south to north.
“Biking has changed my life,” she says. “I was used to being at a desk, long hours every day, and now I exercise and I've got more energy now than I did when I was working. It's just such a feeling of freedom and exhilaration.”
Peabody wanted to share that enthusiasm with her 22-year old granddaughter, Shyanne, who was about to graduate college and go into the military. So she asked her to go on the Weiser Trail, the longest rail trail in Idaho. She had ridden part of it before.
“I love the Weiser River Trail. I wish it was within five miles of me -- I would be on it every day,” she says.
Shyanne, who had hung up her bike after she crashed riding it at age 12, wasn't as confident.
At first I was like, “Grandma, I don't think I can. I really want to, but I'm kind of afraid of my bike,” she says. “And so I thought about it and, you know, what a beautiful opportunity in Idaho and what a great experience to have with my grandma. And so I called her back and I was like, “All right grandma; I'm going to do it with you.”
Shyanne even took mountain bike classes to keep up with her grandmother.
She keeps telling me, “You're going to be fine, you're going to be fine,” says Shyanne. “But I've never done anything longer than like ten miles … and so just the daunting 42 miles a day is staring me in the face.”
The Weiser River Trail is almost entirely flat, though, and the two will have assistance if they need it. That's because they've signed up for OctoberTrek, a supported ride put by the Friends of the Weiser River Trail, the nonprofit that operates the trail. (Only 3% of the rail trails in the country are run by a non-profit.)
“We have a bike mechanic that travels along with the group; we have experienced riders that ride along,” says Pat Trainor with the Friends of the Weiser River Trail. “We have a sweep at the end who can pack bikes and give them rides, and there's enough checkpoints that if they do get tired and they don't think they can go on, then we go ahead and pick them up and take care of them. So you're not by yourself. You're with forty other friends.”
“The Weiser River Trail is really an easy trail to ride,” says Craig Kjar, the coordinator of the event. “So all age groups can ride it. We've seen children on our rides as well. So whether you're 85 or whether you're 10, you can come out and have a great time on this trail.”
“To see people out there using the Weiser River Trail is so rewarding,” says Shirley Atteberry of the Friends of the Weiser River Trail. “We put so much effort into creating it and maintaining it -- to see people using it and having a good time—it's awesome!”
The Outdoor Idaho piece, produced by Marcia Franklin, and shot by videographers Jay Krajic and Hank Nystrom, follows the two on their adventure, as they take in the scenery of the trail, which goes through two counties and four communities.
Along the way, the duo encounter a few challenges and surprises, all part of a bonding experience they'll carry with them for years.
“This is something that I know I'll remember for the rest of my life and I think she will too,” says Ruth.
“I was so timid at first and now we're looking forward to another bike trip,” says Shyanne. “It's just so inspiring and so motivating to know that just at any point in your life you could find something that you truly love to do. And for her that was biking, so I'm just so excited to share this experience with her.”