By Kevin Wilson: Freedom Newspapers
Retired math teacher Darryl Petrak has always had an affinity for numbers and making them mean something. This summer is an extension of that, played out in a big trip on a little motorcycle to benefit charities in Quay and Roosevelt counties.
Petrak is getting set to travel the Rebel Bike Trek, a 37-day journey covering nearly 15,000 miles.
Petrak heard of the journey through motorcycle enthusiasts across the country. He did some research after a friend told him about a 48-plus trip, which is a motorcycle ride that touches all 48 contiguous states within 10 days.
“I told him I envied the 48 states, but not the 10 days,” Petrak said. “I thought I wanted to do something a little more casual. At that rate, you’re just blowing through; you’re not seeing anything.”
His research led him to the Rebel Bike Trek, which Petrak will start June 19 from his home in House to Gainesville, Fla., to Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, and back to House by July 24.
All told, Petrak will cover 19 states, five Canadian provinces, 13 capitals and 25 national parks (21 in the United States, four in Canada).
Some outside of the motorcycling world would call Petrak crazy for making such a ride. People inside the motorcycling world call him crazy for trying it with his small bike.
Petrak will make the trip with “Baby Wing,” a Honda Rebel 250cc bike.
To Petrak’s knowledge, no bike less than 600cc has ever made the Rebel Bike Trek or the Alaska Bike Run.
“A lot of people think 250s shouldn’t get out of the county. I think they’re being silly,” Petrak said. “It will break every speed limit in the country, but not by much.”
The part of the trip from Florida to Alaska is part of the Alaska Bike Trek, where he will join his friend Michael Tuccelli in Gainesville.
Tuccelli, a University of Florida professor, said he uses the trips for charity purposes as well as the adventure.
Tuccelli was born deaf and hears with a cochlear implant. He said he’s happy to help the SKI-HI Institute in Logan, Utah. SKI-HI focuses on early intervention and programming for infants and children with hearing and vision impairments.
“This is my fifth annual event, and I plan to continue this for many more years with a fantastic relationship with SKI-HI,” Tuccelli said. “My dad is 92 and rides his scooter every day, so I am sure that I will be doing this for at least 30 more years.”
Like Tuccelli, Petrak is also working for a cause. Petrak said he has sought donations for the Roosevelt County and Curry County chapters of Habitat for Humanity. Petrak plans to donate a penny for each mile he travels and sought donations from his e-mail and Christmas card lists.
Petrak said he was disappointed early on after receiving less than $100 in pledges, but he is trying to keep an open mind.
“I’ve decided what people donate, they donate,” Petrak said. “I’m not going to give myself high blood pressure over whether or not people will give. If I don’t get another dime, I’ll still have the adventure of my life as a consolation prize.”