Pedaling pastors


People along the Slippery Elm Trail and at two area churches had a rare privilege on Saturday when they
were able to see a specially made bamboo bicycle built for three.
Three Lutheran pastors, with an average age of 60, are making a 100-day trip of 13,000 miles on the
bicycle they call "Bob."
They call their journey the "Tour de Revs." During their journey they will make 65 official
stops along the way. The trip has already taken them to the East Coast with a quick jaunt to Puerto
Rico. They are now headed to the West Coast.
When the Sentinel-Tribune caught up with Revs. Fred Soltow, Ron Schlak and David Twedt in North
Baltimore, they were about a third of the way through their journey. The trio have been friends and
colleagues for more than 15 years.
The journey began in Chicago at the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America headquarters on May 13, and
will end on Aug. 20 in Minneapolis at the national convention.
The pastors acknowledge they will not ride the bicycle for the entire 13,000 miles as their goal is
simply to raise awareness of world hunger and to generate $5 million for the World Hunger program of the
"The bicycle came about a couple of years ago when the three of us began talking about riding from
synod to synod to synod in the ELCA," Twedt said.
"We thought it wouldn’t be anything unusual to have three middle-aged geezers riding down the road
on three bicycles," he added
Twedt’s idea for the triplet came to fruition when Soltow knew someone in California who could make the
bamboo bike. The idea was also boosted through grant money which was obtained.
Thus far, "Bob," a one-of-a-kind bicycle, has been reliable for the pastors with only minor
glitches along the way. A van support vehicle towing a trailer is accompanying them on the route.
"The bike is holding up better than the riders," Twedt laughed. "Bob is a very trustworthy
partner in our journey."
According to their Web site, bamboo has numerous qualities that make it an excellent material for a
bicycle frame. It has excellent tensional rigidity with the dampening quality of carbon fiber and the
durability of steel.
Before their 13-mile ride on the trail between North Baltimore and Bowling Green, the pastors visited
with members of St. Luke’s Lutheran Church, North Baltimore. They then visited the food pantry operated
by the North Baltimore Area Cooperative Ministry.
Once in Bowling Green, they appeared at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church at the Saturday evening worship.
Members of both congregations accompanied the pastors on their trip along the Slippery Elm Trail.
"Our main purpose is to encourage people to make giving to the world hunger part of their monthly
stewardship," Twedt noted.
"If a person would give the cost of a fast-food meal and have that meal at home, they could send in
the money they saved," Schlak suggested.
One of those along for the ride was Pastor Darrell Cousino, associate pastor at St. Mark’s. Cousino is a
veteran cyclist and participated in triathalons.
"We’re just trying to work with these pastors to raise awareness for world hunger," Cousino
Pastor Ralph Mineo of St. Luke’s Lutheran Church in North Baltimore accompanied them from Arcadia to
Findlay, and again along the trail between North Baltimore and Bowling Green.
"We’re getting pledges to help them along with their mission," Mineo said. "It’s been fun
and a learning experience."

On the Net:
Tour de Revs:

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