2 wheels, 2 months and a mission

Lake Clear man is off on another long bike ride to save pets’ lives

Floyd Lampart of Lake Clear rides his bike through Cranberry Lake on Monday, his first day of a two-month, 4,000-mile loop to Colorado and back east. (Photo provided by Floyd and Martha Lampart)

SARANAC LAKE — Floyd Lampart is at it again — off on another epic bicycle trip, this time to middle America and back.

Two months, 4,000 miles.

He’s not just doing this for love of the road. He and his wife Martha are major animal lovers and are plugged into the Utah-based Best Friends Animal Society, which calls itself “the nation’s largest no-kill sanctuary for companion animals.” Lampart is doing this “Heartland Ride” to raise money for Best Friends’ national campaign.

“They have an initiative that by 2025, they are trying to make the country a no-kill country for pets,” he said. “There’s over 5,500 animals euthanized daily in the United States because they have no homes — 5,500 a day, about 2 million a year. In 1984, when Best Friends was founded, there were over 17 million animals killed yearly in the United States, so they’ve got that down to 2 million.”

He hopes that as people notice his 4,000-mile ride, they’ll donate. His goal is $10,000. He raised $52,496 for Best Friends in 2013 with an 11,500-mile ride he did around the circumference of the lower 48 states.

Lampart is a retired land surveyor for the state Department of Environmental Conservation who for years commuted by bike between his Lake Clear home and Ray Brook workplace.

“The first long trip I did was in 1994,” he said. “I rode across the United States. And 1999, I rode from Alaska back to New York. And I did the tour of the capitals of New England for a charity, for the humane society.”

He also rode to and from Best Friends’ home in Kenab, Utah, in 2014. This is his first big ride since then.

This trip will take him through all the states he’s never biked through, except two. His wife has plans to visit Hawaii, but he’s not yet sure how he’ll get to Nevada.

He left his home in Lake Clear Monday and was pedaling his way through western New York on Friday. He’ll go through Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri and across Kansas to Colorado, where he’ll turn south. He’ll turn again at the western “gun barrel” tip of Oklahoma and ride east clear across that state, then through northern Arkansas, Kentucky, Tennessee, West Virginia and Virginia before crossing Chesapeake Bay on the Tangier Island ferry and riding north through Maryland and Delaware to Atlantic City, New Jersey, where he’ll meet his wife and attend Best Friends’ national conference. By then it will be July. He’ll ride home with Martha. He said he’ll be ready to stop by then.

Floyd Lampart says goodbye to his dog Emmy before departing from his Lake Clear home at 9:30 a.m. Monday on a two-month, 4,000-mile bike ride. (Photo provided by Floyd and Martha Lampart)

The donations will be given to Best Friends in memory of their son Chris, who grew up here and died in January 2014 when he was hit by a car while walking across a street near Ithaca, where he lived. He was 43.

While Floyd says the pet-saving cause is the main reason for the ride, he admits he enjoys it, too.

“When you’re on a ride like that, you’re really in touch with yourself because there’s nobody else to talk to,” he said. “You have a lot of time to think — maybe sometimes too much time to think. You get to smell all the smells in the world. You get to hear all the sounds, the birds. You get the solitude. You get the interaction with people, like-minded people like yourself, other bikers, other people in the animal rights organizations. It’s just a good time to get back in touch with yourself and get away from the media, the politics, what we have so much of nowadays. You know, you don’t see newspapers. When I camp in the evening, I don’t have television. The only thing I have is maybe communication with a cellphone.

“I camp the majority of the time. I have all my camping gear with me, and a lot of times I’ll free-camp on state or federal land, or stay in parks. Once you get west of the Mississippi, most of the towns are very friendly. They allow you to camp right in the town parks. A lot of them have showers; it’s really nice. It’s a different mindset when you get out west because there’s so few people compared to what we have in the East here that people are more — they kind of get interested in what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. You know, sometimes, it’s difficult to leave these little towns because they get your ear and you get their ear, and it just goes on and on and on. It’s quite enjoyable to bike in the prairies.”

His camping gear doesn’t include a stove, pots or pans. He doesn’t cook on the road.

Apple fritters are one of Floyd Lampart’s favorite treats during cross-country bike rides. This one, in Harrisville on Tuesday, he dedicated to Kenny Boettger of Placid Planet Bicycles in Lake Placid. (Photo provided — Floyd Lampart)

“I eat mostly cold food,” he said. “I’ll stop at a convenience store or grocery store when I can. I eat a lot of canned fish and cheese, bagels. I always have granola with me. And I’ll stop for an ice cream every day, and I’ll have a fritter break in the morning. I usually have an apple fritter about 10 o’clock. It’s kind of a traditional thing I have. You’re eating all the time because you’re burning 4,000 calories up a day, so you end up losing weight on a ride like this, no matter how much you eat.

“I average 75 miles a day, so you’re riding maybe eight, nine hours at a leisurely pace, but that’s still all exercise. You’ve got hills and whatnot to negotiate. It’s a workout. The first two weeks is the hardest until you get into the rhythm. You kind of, I wouldn’t say suffer, but you know what you’ve done the first two weeks. And after that it becomes more or less a job. You know, you get up in the morning, and that’s your job is to just ride. By the end of a long ride like that, you’re so well accustomed to riding and you’re into the rhythm that it’s actually almost difficult to fall asleep at night. I’ve had times after riding for a month or two that, you know, at night you just look at the stars, and try to get tired and fall asleep. But the first two weeks, not so much. The first two weeks, you’re ready to go to bed.”

He said this may be his last long ride for charity, but not his last ride. His bucket list includes circumventing the Great Lakes and riding around Canada’s Maritime provinces.

He said raising money for animals “kind of gives you inspiration to go on. The toughest part of any ride is when you ride away from your home. When you ride toward your home, every day you’re getting closer to home. The toughest part of this ride is going to be going out to Oklahoma. Once I make the turn there and head back, then it’ll really pick up because every pedal stroke you’re heading closer to your goal, your destination.”

Floyd Lampart’s bike leans against a fence on state Route 3 near Henderson Harbor on Wednesday, his third day of a two-month, 4,000-mile bike ride. (Photo provided — Floyd Lampart)

How to give:

Floyd Lampart of Lake Clear is biking 4,000 miles to raise money for Best Friends Animal Society’s campaign to make the U.S. a no-kill nation for pets by 2025. If he inspires you to donate, you can do so at bestfriends.org/heartlandride. You can follow him at www.facebook.com/pedalforpawstheheartlandride.