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Hi Everyone!

We thought you might be interested in this.

A couple of weeks ago, an article about Odyssey was published in the Pasadena Star-News. The reporter had interviewed some riders who have left the trip, and some of their friends who are still here. This is a group of VERY dissatisfied riders, so consequently, the article was totally one-sided, and, we thought, very unfair. The reporter speculated that this might be "the ride from hell." And some of the rider's statements seemed to be out-and-out lies. As you know from our journals, Odyssey has not been perfect, but even so, the article really angered us. So we e-mailed a letter to the editor. Char (a rider) told us that her friend in Pasadena saw the letter in the paper. We haven't seen it, so we don't know if they edited it in any way, but here is our version:

As riders on Odyssey 2000, we take exception to the general tone of Usha Sutliff's article, "Bicyclists Complain Odyssey 2000 Hitting Bumps in Road" (Sept. 25). It's too bad Ms. Sutliff apparently only talked to some very dissatisfied riders. Had she checked with others, the result likely would have been a much more balanced article.

Of course there have been unexpected "bumps in the road", even some major snafus. And, as one might expect from a first-time ride such as this, there have been some organizational and management problems. But "the bicycle trip from hell?" Hardly.

Here are some of the things TK&A (the tour organizer) HAS delivered:

- Breakfast and dinner every day, as promised. Most of the meals have been adequate or better. And "adequately" feeding 200 hungry cyclists is quite a feat in some of the more remote places we've been.

- Other than a handful of infamous exceptions, routes that have ranged from "good" to "absolutely spectacular."

- Thorough, easy-to-follow daily route guides.

- Mechanical support. We don't recall the promise quoted in the article of a "fully equipped professional bike shop." But in any case, apart from some specialized needs of our tandem bicycle, the TK&A mechanics have always responded to our service needs.

- Potable water when needed. The riders quoted in the article apparently had a problem with this, but we never have. (And in all fairness, TK&A did advise us before the trip to take along our own water purification tablets, just in case -- which we did, and which we have never had to use.)

Bottom line: Despite the bumps, we are seeing the world, riding our tandem, visiting places we never imagined we'd visit, meeting people we never imagined we'd meet, and doing all this instead of working. Not exactly our definition of "hell."

- David and Lisa Valkenaar

Comments or questions about the web page? Contact Douglas Valkenaar