Growing up with a bike-trekking, adventurous dad meant Amy Klobuchar, the U.S. senator from Minnesota, had some memorable experiences. She and former Star Tribune columnist Jim Klobuchar biked 1,100 miles from Minneapolis to the Grand Teton mountains in Wyoming. They biked in Slovenia, looking for his relatives. And she biked on several Jaunt With Jim weeklong trips in Minnesota.
“When I was 13 or 14, we road our bikes to Ely, where my grandparents lived,’’ she recalled. “We were supposed to do it in three days; we did it in two. The first day we went 140 miles to Cloquet. I had never ridden longer than 20 miles. I wore pink strawberry shorts, no helmet and had an old orange American Arrow bike that he got at a fire sale. I pretended to fall off my bike as we got closer to Cloquet. He said, ‘Come on, it’s getting dark.’ We ate Cheez Whiz and Ritz crackers in the tent.’’
Later, on a Jaunt With Jim trip, one of her tires kept blowing as the group biked to Staples, Minn. “We kept repairing it. We finally got to Staples, and the mayor is standing on a picnic table addressing the crowd when all of a sudden my tire blows (with a pop), and the mayor jumps down. He thought it was an assassination attempt.’’
Then, as a college student at Yale, Amy Klobuchar proposed biking from New Haven, Conn., to Minneapolis, and dad agreed. “We got to Michigan, and Dad fell and broke a cheekbone. It was bad. He went to the hospital. He was writing columns along the way for the newspaper, but I guess they decided they couldn’t afford to put me up in a motel, so I got taken in by some family for four days. They finally sent a newspaper truck to pick us up, and we loaded the bikes in back. It was really bumpy.’’
Said Amy Klobuchar: “I have very fond memories of the bike trips. We had a lot of fun together. It was a good way to see the country and the world.’’