Local women bike 1,738 miles along Pacific Coast

BIG RAPIDS —Marcia Cebulla and Terri Hope are still amazed their recent 1,738-mile bike ride went perfectly, though they both think it would be a more interesting story if something went wrong.

Longtime friends Cebulla, of Reed City, and Hope, of Paris, biked down the entire West Coast in 32 days, starting in Victoria, British Columbia on June 29 and ending at the Mexican border on July 30.

They each had one flat tire throughout their journey, but that was the extent of their mishaps.

“I’m still shocked we had no major injuries, illnesses, breakdowns or anything else,” Hope said. “It was perfect weather. Nothing stopped us from riding. Talk about feeling blessed; I’m still in amazement everything went our way.”

The idea for the trip was born two years ago when Cebulla, who manages a law firm in Big Rapids and is an avid bike rider, decided she would like to take a bike trip to celebrate her 50th birthday.

Hope, who works as a hairdresser at Select Cuts & Co., also enjoyed bike riding, but until two years ago, an eight-mile ride was a long one for her.

As Hope was cutting Cebulla’s hair one day, Cebulla brought up her plan to take the trip.

“She said ‘Can I go too?’ and I said, ‘Of course!’” Cebulla laughed. “Other people had been planning to go, but it wound up just being the two of us. A trip two years in the making.”

“Back then, I was at a point where I was looking for something to get me back in shape,” Hope added. “I was looking for a goal and it seemed like a week later, there Marcia was talking about this trip, so it was perfect.” Friends and family thought the two were crazy, but ultimately offered their overwhelming support. Cebulla and Hope documented their journey with a Facebook page “Terri & Marcia's Crazy West Coast Adventure,” posting pictures and daily updates for those back home to follow along. Cebulla’s husband owns a dry cleaning business in Big Rapids, and had friends who were eager for an update stopping in to ask for the latest news if their page was lacking a new post. “It was like the whole community of Big Rapids was supporting us along the way,” she said. “It was nice.” The book, “Bicycling the Pacific Coast” served as a guide for the duo, offering ideas for campgrounds and restaurants, as well as providing information on the elevation they climbed each day. The trail is a very common trail, Cebulla said, and they encountered tons of interesting people each day. They met a man from Virginia who had biked 7,000 miles, as well as a couple from Brazil who had biked through the Netherlands and Thailand, and were biking the same trail as Cebulla and Hope heading back to Brazil. The couple had been biking throughout the world for two years and three months and had another year to go before they would make it back home. “The people were the really big part of the joy of the trip,” Hope said. “Just to meet them and hear their stories was one of the best parts.” “I loved it so much, and I really wanted to keep going when we were done,” Cebulla said. “It was just absolutely amazing and such a great adventure. We met so many people with amazing stories.” The pair averaged 56 miles each day, camped outside most of the trip and made peanut butter sandwiches in parking lots. The Oregon Coast and Redwood Forests were some of their favorite places they saw while on their trip. “Those trees were breathtaking,” Cebulla said. “It was absolutely majestic.” Both Cebulla and Hope would love to take another long biking trip in the future, although it could be awhile. “It might not be five weeks because it’s hard to be gone from work that long,” Hope said. “But I’d like to start picking two or three states a year maybe since we’ve got a few under our belt now and keep adding to the list and see how many we can get to total.”