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1985: Destination Law School Reunion, by Bicycle

by Rachel Couch

Terry Bennett '85

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While most alumni were booking plane tickets or planning car trips to Charlottesville for their Law School reunions, Terry Bennett was preparing for a different sort of ride to get there—a bicycle ride.

Bennett was already familiar with long bicycle rides before his journey from his home in Manhattan to Charlottesville in late April. He enjoys 50 to 100 mile one-day rides as occasional changes from his gym and running routines.

Last fall, however, Bennett decided to go bigger. With his 25th Law School Reunion on the horizon, he saw Charlottesville as the perfect destination for his first big bike trip. While some might think that the Internet would be useful in mapping a route for such an undertaking, Bennett says that, because bicycle trips are on secondary and tertiary roads, planning his trip turned out to be “a very old fashioned process. You use paper maps, spread them out, and see what roads you can take.” Research over the winter led him to choose Adventure Cycling Association’s Southbound Atlantic Coast Route for most of his trip.

Bennett started his journey on Friday, April 23. Along the way he tracked weather, terrain, accommodations, mileage, and scenery in his trip journal. His entry for Monday, April 26th reads:

“Weather cool, rain. Cycled in intermittent heavy rain from Delta, PA, to and through Baltimore and on to Ellicott City, MD. Terrain becoming easier—rolling hills. Difficult getting into Baltimore as route took me into the middle of a multi-lane highway. In Ellicott City environs got caught out after dark in heavy downpour on four-lane highway. Very hard time finding hotel. 73 miles.”

After braving tough weather conditions at the outset, Bennett enjoyed progressively sunnier weather. He also met some cyclists in Maryland and rode with them for a morning. As he was travelling solo, Bennett appreciated having some fellow riders to chat with. He arrived in Charlottesville late in the afternoon on Friday, April 30. His total mileage amounted to 516 miles—an average of 65 miles per day.

“When I pulled into Charlottesville, it was definitely a good feeling,” he confessed. “It was nice to get there and say, ‘I don’t have to get back on this bicycle tomorrow and ride all day again!’”

Despite Bennett’s relief at reaching Charlottesville, this won’t be his last big cycling trip. “I really did enjoy it,” he said. “I want to spend the winter months planning another trip for the spring—maybe Montreal.”

Bennett squeezes in his training in the early morning before starting work at Levi, Lubarsky & Feigenbaum LLP in Manhattan, where he practices corporate and commercial real estate law.

What about his next Law School reunion in five years? Bennett will be there, but says he will probably travel by more traditional means.