This month we hear from Chuck and Danita Pfliiger… living proof that the benefits of cycling go way beyond heart rate, blood pressure and great photos.
Chuck and Danita Pfliiger, Silverton, Oregon, 57 and 48
What’s your BRNW history?
Danita’s first year riding BRNW was 2007; Chuck’s first BRNW ride was 2009. Danita has ridden 9 times not counting 2017, Chuck 7 times.
We hear you have a cycling-related “meeting story”?
We met briefly during the Century Ride of the Centuries (CROC) in Pendleton in 2010. We became inseparable riding partners during the 2012 OBR Prineville ride. We came back to Portland from that ride and started riding together; in September we realized we were more than great riding partners—we were partners in life. So BRNW holds a very special place in our hearts.
Why do you ride a bike?
What other exercise makes you feel like a kid even when you’re climbing up a cliff?
How many bikes do you own, and is this a problem?
Chuck has two bikes and Danita has three, including a Pedersen. The only problem is for Chuck—needing one more to catch up.
What is the most unusual or challenging place you’ve ever ridden?
We rode over Beartooth Pass in Wyoming, elevation 10,947 feet, in August. At the top it was snowing and 31 degrees. We highly recommend checking the weather forecast before tackling that amazing climb.
The sense of common purpose of the group—usually that purpose is to just make it over the next mountain and enjoy the ride! Being in the middle of nowhere and feeling comfortable, being comfortable being a little uncomfortable.
The other thing that made a huge impression on us is that we thought we were doing something amazing by completing the ride—and we looked around and people who were 20-30 years older were completing the same ride. We realized this is something we can do for a long time!!
Which has been your favorite BRNW ride, and why?
We really enjoyed the Athena ride in 2013, which included Wallowa Lake and Rattlesnake Grade. Chuck grew up in the area and Danita’s grandmother lived out there, so a lot of the roads and areas we were familiar with but had never ridden before.
Why do you keep coming back?
We love summer camp for adults.
(Chuck:) Since I got carsick riding up Rattlesnake Grade when I was a kid, I never thought I would be riding a bike with my wife up that grade.
What’s the most breathtaking scenery you’ve encountered on a BRNW ride?
Stanley Lake and the Sawtooth Mountains during IBR in 2011.
What is the single most important item you bring on a bike tour? For Chuck, extra gears to keep up with Danita on the hills.
What advice would you give a first-time BRNW rider? Ride your own ride.