Retiree on Two Wheels
Aramcon Tim Hansen rolls into retirement by pedaling across America
Seeds to pan-American ride were planted during his days spent working in Saudi Arabia.
Longtime Aramcon Tim Hansen has rolled into retirement with gusto, having recently completed a bike trip across America from California to Florida.
The 3,100-mile trip took 52 days to complete, with 45 days of actual biking. It started in San Diego, California, on the West Coast, and ended in St. Augustine, Florida, on the East Coast.
Hansen said the trip was on his bucket list for years and that he had dreamed of cycling across the country even when he was based in Saudi Arabia.
One day each week over seven weeks, the group he was traveling with took a day off so people could rest their minds and bodies and repair their bikes.
Challenging from the start
Hansen said the first part of the trip — over the mountains in California, Arizona and New Mexico — was the most challenging.
After they arrived in Austin, the roads flattened out considerably.
The group mainly traveled on country roads to be as safe as possible and stay away from vehicular traffic.
About two-thirds of the time, his tour group slept in tents and stayed in remote campgrounds.
Sometimes they would sleep in school gymnasiums or local community centers, using sleeping bags and air mattresses. Occasionally they would stay in budget motels.
The tour started with 40 riders and finished with 35. They began March 12 and ended May 2.
The group had a support team that traveled by truck. The support team carried gear and was responsible for setting up and breaking down camp each night, along with cooking breakfast and dinner and arranging lunch.
The cyclists averaged 70 miles a day, with distances ranging from 95 miles a day to just 50, depending on the terrain.
I had first heard about this in 2011 from two guys who spoke at a community meeting in Saudi. I found the idea of seeing rural America from a bike seat interesting. It also sounded challenging.
— Tim Hansen
“We saw things you wouldn’t see from a car or plane,” he said.
Hansen said the company that organized the tour is called Timberline Adventures, which he found out about through fellow Aramcon David Cobb after arriving at Aramco Americas.
“Not a lot of people do this type of trip because it is kind of risky. There are a lot of roads without shoulders. That can be tough in Georgia and Mississippi where there are lots of logging trucks. We always wore safety vests and had blinking lights on our bikes to maintain high visibility,” Hansen said.
A bike mechanic was with the group for the entire trip, though Hansen said he was lucky to never get a flat tire.
Hansen said he and his wife are figuring out what they will do next.
“We lived outside the U.S. for 34 years, so now is the time for us to take advantage of what this beautiful country has to offer,” he said.
Several people on the ride were runners and he was pleased to see them wearing Aramco Half Marathon t-shirts from races they ran in Houston.
“The Aramco community is a special group of people, and I am very grateful for having been able to work for the company for so many years,” Hansen said.