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Cross-Country Bikers


Mary Boone

Helen and Frank Miller ’61 rode from San Diego to Melbourne Beach, Fla.

Two 1960s Cornell alumni and their wives put their mettle to the pedal this spring to complete separate transcontinental bicycling adventures.

Frank Miller ’61 and his wife, Helen, pedaled 3,100 miles from San Diego to their home in Melbourne Beach, Fla., from March 31 to June 15. The couple, retired teachers, rode matching touring bikes and averaged 50 miles per day; they rode 62 days and had 15 rest days.

Tom Herbert ’66 and his wife, Peggy, rode a tandem and pulled a trailer on their 3,755-mile trip from San Diego to Wallis Sands, N.H. They averaged 62 miles a day and had five rest days.

Peggy and Tom Herbert ’66 rode a tandem on their trip from San Diego to Wallis Sands, N.H.

While the cyclists’ routes differed, their experiences were overwhelmingly positive and both men said when they finally returned to their homes they became a little bored with the predictability.

“Every day of the trip was an adventure,” says Frank Miller, who tried to prolong the memories of his journey by compiling lists including the couple’s “10 Favorite Places” and “Most Scenic Views.”

“It’s nowhere nearly as exciting to wake up in the same house every morning,” he says.

“Taking a trip like this reaffirms your faith in America,” says Tom Herbert, also a retired teacher. “Plus, it was a little like being on a two-month marriage encounter.”

Among the Cornellians the Millers met along the way were Mary Jo Miller Retzer ’65 (Frank’s sister), Bill Robison ’60, John Bunton ’60, Bob Mead ’62, and Herman Sieck ’60. Sieck created an Internet journal of the Millers’ trip, part of a larger site for 1957 Owl pledges at

The Herberts also kept an Internet journal ( and both couples had several classrooms tracking their trips.

“A lot about the ride paralleled life,” says Herbert. “Sometimes there were high hills and winds, but most of the time things were just fabulous.”

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