Dan Paradis has been riding bikes since he was a kid with a paper route. He started riding in bike events while in therapy school in the 1970s and is riding more now than he’s ever done before.
“I do two or three major rides a year,” he said. “Usually, one is in Europe with others in the United States such as the ride that started in Montrose, continuing to Steamboat Springs and on to Yellowstone.
“Last year I rode 3,000 miles on my bicycles including everything around town, even going to the grocery store to shop.”
He just returned from a 400-mile trip in Cuba. He went online and found a group of Canadians planning the trip and hooked up with them. There were 20 riders on the tour including Dan, a couple from the U.S., and the rest from Canada.
Group tours are arranged ahead of time usually with lodging booked at bed and breakfast places or two or three star hotels. A support vehicle carries supplies. With Ride the Rockies he always camped out.
Last May, Dan hiked the Paria River Canyon backpacking alone. The trail starts a bit west of Glen Canyon dam in Utah following the river bottom surrounded by high sculpted red-rock walls. Walking through water most of the time meant wet feet all day long. The trip takes three to four days ending at the Colorado River at Lee’s Ferry in Arizona. A permit is required to make the trip with only 20 hikers per day allowed in the area.
“When I rode 450 miles from Milwaukee, Wis., to Canton, Ohio, to my high school reunion in August of last year I camped half the time and otherwise stayed in motels. It was a self-contained ride, with all my gear on my bike. Needless to say I was the only one showing up on a bicycle. When they heard I’d ridden a bike, one classmate was certain that I’d ridden a Harley.”
Dan has four bicycles — a Giant road bike, a specialized tour bike, a mountain bike, and a 1975 3-speed Raleigh that he restored.
Every spring Dan puts together a 2-3 day ride through the west end of Montrose County starting in Whitewater, riding to Gateway, then to Naturita and then on to Ridgway, where riders are either picked up or ride on to Montrose.
Dan states he has ridden in six Ride the Rockies events, “and I’m done.” For him, it’s too many people. “When 3000 people are added to the population of a small town, it’s difﬁcult to ﬁnd a place to stay overnight and the tents are stacked on top of each other at the camping site and lines are long at restaurants. Some people try to make it into a race; it’s just not for me anymore,” he said.
In August of this year Dan and his girlfriend will be riding for two weeks in the Idaho panhandle. This will be a self-contained ride carrying all of their gear, camping out along the way. They plan to start at Sandpoint, ride north on the scenic route to the Canadian border making a circle tour for a bit in British Columbia, connecting with the route previously traveled to return to Sandpoint.
In October, he plans to go to Italy and ride through part of Sicily.
Yet another adventure started by reading an ad in the Denver Post. Employees, including a physical therapist were needed to work in Antarctica for the National Science Foundation under a contract with a division of Raytheon Corporation. He applied but didn’t get the job offer until three years later.
“Our wintertime is Antarctica’s summertime . . . I arrived in October and spent four and a half months there as a physical therapist at McMurdo, one of three U.S. research stations on the continent. Each month I was ﬂown to the South Pole to the U.S station to work for 2-3 days,” said Dan. “Most of my therapy work there was related to tendonitis and strains due to workers putting in long hours; nine hours a day, six days a week.”
One of the fringe beneﬁts of working in Antarctica is the availability of purchasing an around-the-world ticket on American Airlines, the company that transports workers for Raytheon Corporation. After “getting off the ice” he went to Fiji, New Zealand, Australia, across Africa, climbed Kilimanjaro, then on to Egypt, Germany, Holland and England. The ﬁnal leg was on to New York, Chicago, Denver and home.
Dan is currently employed as a physical therapist at Horizons Care Center in Eckert. He was a self employed physical therapist in Montrose for 20 years.
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