Crazy guy on a bike

O’ Rourke on the beach in India with a British tourist.

Similar to any line of work, being in this job, one can plan accordingly and on deadline day, those plans can blow up in your face and you have to adjust.

Such a scenario played out for me this week. I received an email a couple of weeks ago from Steve O’Rourke, who has an office down the street from where the Bulletin was. 

He presented to me what I thought was a great story idea, but I needed more information. We met last week for about an hour. 

Due to the timeliness and impact of the story, it would have been best for it to run in this week’s paper. However, forces beyond my control tightened the space for this week’s edition, which only left this space. 

Hope you still read it. 


Steve O’Rourke loves to ride a bicycle. 

“Over the years, I’ve taken many bike tours both in North America and overseas,” the Baldwin native explained, with some of those places being India, France, Ireland and Scotland. “Generally, I like to have some sort of theme for my bike rides, so that they’re more than just an athletic event.”

His latest ride has some personal meaning for him. 

Starting July 22, O’Rourke will be doing a solo tour, covering approximately 650 miles from Manitowoc, Wisconsin to Atlantic, Iowa. 

Why that route? It’s the path Rev. Alfred Gardner completed in 1854. Gardner is O’Rourke’s great-great-great-grandfather. As O’Rourke explained, Gardner was a minister of a church in Weyauwega, Wisconsin from 1854 until around 1880 when he moved to southwest Iowa where he did more work as a minister before passing away. He is buried in the local cemetery in Atlantic, Iowa. 

He’s hoping to arrive in Atlantic, Aug. 1. 

“I like to bike areas I’ve never done before,” he further added. “I like to be surprised.”

Another factor for this trip: O’Rourke is turning 70 this year. 

“I feel that it is time for me to test my physical and psychological capacities,” he continued. This is a test for him since his last solo sustained ride, which consisted of camping and sleeping on the ground (like this one) was a tour of Nebraska/Kansas/Missouri and Iowa four years ago. 

“If, I find out, after doing this ride that I can still handle the miles, camping and day-to-day challenge of a multiweek ride, without coming home a basket case, I will start to turn my thoughts toward a bigger project for 2022,” he stated, on his website

O’Rourke says he regularly bikes with people older than him and who go faster than him. 

He described his traveling essentials. 

“I’ve come to decide that carrying stoves, pots, etc.… is too much of a hassle,” he said. “I am content with cold cuts, cheese, tuna in a pouch.

“I always try to carry plenty of water. The bike can accommodate three one-liter water bottles. I like to have my caffeine kick in the morning and I’ve never been a coffee drinker.”

Along with his tent, he’ll have a spare inner tube and tire, a couple sleeping pads and bugspray. 

For more information about this ride, visit 

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