Kalispell Lawmaker Cycling Across the State

By Beacon Staff

While working on an unrelated story this week, I called Kalispell state Rep. Cheryl Steenson, who is riding her bicycle across Montana this summer, and visiting many of her fellow lawmakers in their districts along the way. Now, the Beacon often receives press announcements from people doing long benefit bicycle or motorcycle rides for good causes, and I don’t think we’ve ever covered one. I tend to doubt the newsworthiness of someone’s vacation. Steenson agreed with me, but she did share some of the more interesting aspects of her ride across Montana.

So far, she has visited three Republicans and four Democrats, though her drop-in to Rep. Tom Berry of Roundup’s place was a bit of a surprise. Steenson rolled into town only to find every campsite in Roundup occupied due to the booming mining going on there. Not wishing to be the only woman staying at these sites, she called Berry, who was more than willing to host her for an evening. Steenson said she is averaging 70-80 miles per day, and that the biggest hazards so far have been the weather: A stiff crosswind knocked her off her bicycle in Circle. A flash storm in Harlowton forced Steenson to ditch her bicycle, a Surly Long Haul Trucker (pictured), and take shelter under a culvert.

But mostly, she said she is having a blast, hiking in Yellowstone and seeing parts of Montana she as never seen before. She is currently in Dillon and plans to be back in the Flathead in about a week.

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