In 2014, there was a story in this column about Stephen Swift, who had been zig-zagging all over the country on his bicycle since 2012. It all started when he became depressed after a cancer diagnosis, and his daughter suggested he take a bike ride.
His motto became “never give up.” After about 14,000 miles, he figured he’d met thousands of people, and had 29 notebooks full of messages from friends he’d made along the way. He was heading home to Newport to write a book.
This November, Stephen once again appeared at The Daily Astorian. The Ear missed his visit, but reporter Edward Stratton took his photo. Stephen told Edward he was headed for Portland to complete his ride. Yes, he had gone back out on the road again. More than once, it seems. One estimate puts his travels at between 18,000 and 20,000 miles.
“I did make it home,” he told the Ear in a recent email, “and the true reason for the long, long bike ride was because of my wife’s death. Just did not want to be alone. Better making new friends than being home all alone.” Whether he’ll stay home, this time, remains to be seen.