As the old saying goes, “slow and steady wins the race.” For one duo, that saying holds true.
KX News stopped alongside Highway 2 to meet a father and son on a quest to travel coast to coast by way of a bike.
Meet Shepherd Colver and his dad, James, gracefully traveling through the Peace Garden State.
“We’re crossing North Dakota right now. Planning to get into Minot here in a few hours,” James said.
To most, they look like regular bikers — and they are — only their sights are set a little further than a couple of mile ride.
“So, Shepherd and I are riding east. Riding over to New York,” James said.
Their journey began in Washington.
“In May of 2019 we started over in Anacortes, Washington, and started heading east from there,” he said.
James says his long-time love and experience in biking is what sparked the idea — only it wasn’t his idea.
“I had hung up my bike for a good 10 years and then one day when Shepherd here was 6 years old he was looking at some of the magazines and stuff that I was in,” James said. “And we were reading that and he started getting real excited and started talking about the idea of maybe riding with me sometime.”
So the two set out for the challenge.
“We started dealing with rain, we were dealing with high elevations and stuff and Shepherd just kept on going,” James said.
Shepherd, proving to be a cross country, young bike warrior, felt unstoppable.
“The stamina and grit that he demonstrated to me was, I mean it was pretty inspirational,” James said.
Until one day they hit a bump in the road.
“When we came down out of the Rocky Mountains into the Plains and eastern Montana, Shepherd started explaining to me that he was not feeling too good,” James said.
They stopped at a nearby hospital only to find out Shepherd was a Type-1 diabetic.
“We had no idea he was born with it and his symptoms started when we were on the tour,” James said.
The two decided to turn back to Washington until they could learn to manage Shepherd’s diagnosis, but in no way was this giving up.
“On the ride home on the train Shepherd was telling me that one day he’d really like to come back and finish what he started,” James said.
And two years later, he and his father did.
Now, all equipped with Shepherd’s insulin and other items stored away in their light load.
“It’s very nice to be doing this, finally getting back on the road. It’s very beautiful doing this and it’s definitely a great experience to at least try if you can,” Shepherd said.
Shepherd’s determination far outweighs any diagnosis or fatigue out on the road because if this 3,000-mile ride is completed…
“If we make it through and we can get through to the end, Shepherd will be the youngest kid to ever complete the Northern Tier Bicycle Trail, and also he’ll be the youngest Type-1 diabetic to cross the U.S. on his bike,” James said.
A feat the two will both be proud of for years to come.
James says the two have received tremendous support along the way from free rooming and board to free food.
He says they plan to be in New York by August and will explore the Statue of Liberty, one of Shepherd’s biggest goals.