Gundrum has set a goal of $25,000 to support the memorial’s ongoing mission: to build and sustain a 9/11 memorial to remember the victims, honor those who responded, celebrate the resilience of our communities and country, and educate future generations.Gundrum’s fundraising efforts will support the education goals of the memorial by providing lesson plans and activity guides to students throughout Wisconsin.
Her trip will include a ferry crossing of Lake Michigan on the first day. She then will ride through Michigan and Ohio before stopping in Pittsburgh to celebrate another of her causes at the Black Girls Do Bike annual meet-up. When her tour resumes, Tarra Gundrum will continue through Pennsylvania, Maryland, and West Virginia before reaching Washington DC. She hopes to visit with the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to discuss still another of her priorities, I Am Not Invisible, a program for female veterans of the US armed forces.
Returning to Wisconsin by train on September 3, Gundrum will ride from Milwaukee to the southern terminus of the Eisenbahn State Trail at Rusco Drive. That’s where the final leg of the journey will begin.
“I am welcoming the community of supporters to ride the final 10 miles,” Gundrum said. “Just a meet-up; nothing formal.”
Departing from the Rusco trailhead at about 5 p.m., Gundrum will ride up the Eisenbahn to Kewaskum to finish the journey at the memorial by 6 p.m.
The trip will be a huge effort that requires not just physical toughness, but also the right equipment and no small amount of planning. Gundrum has learned a lot from previous bikepacking trips, including a week-long ride in Summer 2020 on the Great Allegheny Passage and C&O Canal Towpath, which once again will be her connection between Pittsburgh and Washington DC.
Her physical preparations have included a long (50+ miles) fully loaded trip every week for the past two months, plus frequent commutes between her home and her workplace: 22 miles roundtrip on “the hilliest route I can find!”
Having reliable gear and knowing how to use it will be critical to a successful trip.
“I’ve taken many ‘shakedown’ rides by traveling in my neighborhood and then setting up camp in my backyard, without going into the house,” Gundrum said. “It really helped me to get back in the mindset of bike touring.”
What’s different this time?
“I had way too many items I did not need,” Gundrum said, “and I learned to improvise by using the same items for multiple purposes. I learned that all of my years of carrying zip ties as a ‘MacGyver tool’ finally paid off when 2 of 4 panniers broke. Zip ties saved my life! I moved away from clipless pedals because I only want to carry one pair of shoes.”
What else has experience taught her?
“I learned people are genuinely good. My first tour (Michigan, Spring 2022) restored my faith in humanity at a time when the entire world was broken. I found reinforcement in the fact that with a strong mind and faith in God, all things are possible.”
To promote her tour, Tarra Gundrum will appear at the Downtown West Bend Farmers Market on Saturday, August 6, from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. CDT. For updates on the tour as it progresses, check out her YouTube and Facebook pages.
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