Rohde takes a ride


By Ally Jorgensen

It is a typical summer morning, the sun is just beginning to rise, and the air is cool. For most people, the summertime is for sleeping in, maybe even until noon, but for HHS jazz band director Rick Rohde, the cool summer mornings are ideal for long bike rides. 

“I try to get out as soon as the sun comes up and get in as many miles as I can before it gets too hot,” Rohde said. 

According to Rohde, early mornings are the best time to go out because people are not around to frighten the wildlife. The most memorable moments occur when he is able to spot deer and other woodland animals. 

Rohde started his biking journey like many others, learning how to ride a bike as a kid, but he took it to the next level as a young adult. He started road biking when his friend gifted him an old bike. He rode it for a while, but it was too small for him, so he decided to get one for himself.  

“I rode with a couple of clubs [that] did the same kind of thing on the weekends. It was something I really got into,” Rohde said. “It worked out for me.” 

Now that school has started back up, and the temperature is starting to drop, he is only able to go out on the weekends. He tries to go out and ride about 50-60 miles each time, averaging about 15-16 miles per hour. This distance may seem long for the average bike rider, but this is nothing compared to Rohde’s 80-100 mile bike rides during the summer. 

“We were going for 100 [miles] this summer and we were in the 80s [but] we had to bail out. We rode our bikes up to Lake Geneva and on the way back, my friend and I decided to [tap out],” Rohde said. 

In order to go on these insanely long bike rides, the rider must be prepared, or they will not be able to make it. This can be dangerous if the rider is far away from home or in an unfamiliar area. 

“[You should be] eating lots of pasta and bread and also just hydrating a lot the day before. On the bike you don’t realize how much you are sweating because it blows off of you and you don’t realize how much you are letting off so [you need to be hydrated],” Rohde said. 

Rohde always prepares for his rides by wearing the correct protective gear, like fingerless gloves and a helmet, as well as packing water and food for his journey. 

“On a ride for those 40-50 miles we make sure to have three big bottles [of water]. I always bring Gatorade, and some food along with me,” Rohde said. 

These items are essential for an experienced rider and a successful bike ride. 

Rohde hopes to get in a few more bike rides before the end of the season as the cold and frosty weather approaches. Fortunately, he has plenty to keep himself busy in the winter by being the sponsor of the Heineman Middle School Ski Club.