Vol. 17, No. 30May 7, 1998

Pedal power for the American Lung Association

Cathy and Glenn Jellenik

UD graduates Cathy and Glenn Jellenik are seeing America by bike. Three years ago, they put their feet to the pedals and headed south to New Orleans and west to Denver. "When we saw the Rockies, we decided the trip was over," Cathy, AS '91, MA '97, said.

This summer, they are participating in the American Lung Association Big Ride, from Washington state to Washington, D.C., with 1,000 cyclists participating. To qualify, each rider must raise $6,000 for the organization, which is in itself another challenge, Glenn, AS '95, said.

The pair, who met while freshmen at UD, married in 1993 and made two major decisions-to take the trip to Denver to see America first (Glenn's priority) and to spend a year in Paris so that Cathy could experience living in France and become immersed in French, her field of study. They made both of these dreams come true.

They both admit they were novice bikers on the trip to Denver. "We had heavy mountain bikes, backpacks with tent, sleeping bags and even a video camera," Glenn recalled.

"It was so hot that summer. The radio would say, 'Don't go outdoors if you can avoid it,' and we would get on our bikes and go 50 miles. There were times I just cried. When I got home, I didn't even look at my bike for six months. But, then I started riding again and loved it," Cathy said.

The couple agree that one of the best parts of the trip was the people they met. "We never had a problem. Everyone in the campgrounds and along the way was friendly, would invite us for meals and wanted to hear about our adventures," Cathy said.

During the year in Paris, the couple rented an apartment near Notre Dame on the Left Bank from the family for whom Cathy worked as an au pair. She also clerked in a small, specialty shop, featuring American foods for homesick expatriates. Glenn tore around Paris on a scooter as a delivery boy and learned French from scratch.

He also bought his current road bike there and tried it out in Paris. "I was grateful when he returned in one piece," Cathy recalled, shuddering at memories of Paris traffic and drivers.

Currently, Cathy is putting her French to good use in the language lab at Archmere Academy and has applied for graduate school for her doctorate.

Glenn, currently, is a soccer and baseball coach at Tatnall School and works for Dead Presidents, a Wilmington restaurant.

Everything will be put on hold in June when they fly to Seattle for "Day One" of the Big Ride. On June 15, they wheel out of Seattle with 998 companions.

This bike trip will be quite different. The two have been getting in shape and working out, as well as participating in regional rides. This time, they have road bikes, which are lighter and easier to ride. They will be taking a northern route through Idaho, Montana, the Dakotas, through the Midwest and down to Washington, D.C.

Breakfast, dinner and a place to sleep each night are provided. The trip is planned to take 45 days and to end on Aug. 1.

"Cathy was the one who saw the Lung Association ad in The New York Times and said we had to do it," Glenn recalled. "We both think the trip is for a good cause-we've had lung diseases in both our families, and I was asthmatic growing up. Also, the money we raise goes directly to the Delaware chapter and will be used here," Glenn said.

As they work out out on the road and in the gym to prepare for the ride, the Jelleniks still are working on meeting their $12,000 goal.

Anyone who wishes to contribute may send checks, payable to the American Lung Association, to Cathy and Glenn Jellenik, 1423 North Clayton St., Wilmington, DE 19806.

-Sue Swyers Moncure
Photo by Jack Buxbaum