Sunday, August 19, 2001

Cyclist celebrates Hoosier byways

The Associated Press

        LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Whenever Charlie Myer sees a bicyclist dodging semis, lost hubcaps and rusty mufflers along U.S. 52, he wants to pull over and tell him about a few roads less traveled.

        Mr. Myer is a veteran bicyclist. And, like the most veteran bicyclists, he hates highways, loves byways, and enjoys sharing his favorite two-wheeled adventures with others.

        “I'm not as interested in going fast as I am in enjoying the scenery,” he says. “It's really fun to find the little bars and little cafes along the way, run by the local people.”

        The trim, 54-year-old retired engineer has compiled two popular guidebooks, each filled with suggested loop routes and detailed maps he created on his home computer.

        The first, Back Roads of Indiana, shows all the paved routes in 91 of the state's 92 counties, with seven suggested five-day rides and tours ranging in length from 36 to 140 miles.

        Back Roads, published in 1992, is in its third edition. More than 1,000 copies have been sold. Mr. Myer doesn't make a profit on them, but he enjoys getting people into his beloved backcountry to see the “other” Indiana. He also has led many group rides.

        “There's a Realtor in Craw fordsville who uses (Back Roads) to get around the county, and motorcyclists use it, too,” he says. “One guy said it's a good book for people with antique cars, out for a Sunday drive.”

        The only county not covered is Marion. Mr. Myer left that one to other cyclists, more familiar with metropolitan Indianapolis.

        Mr. Myer and his wife have pedaled all over Indiana, in Canada and in France, often on their tandem.

        Mr. Myer says Indiana is a good place to cycle. Most motorists are courteous and the landscape is surprisingly varied, he said.


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