Kris McNeal and Zach Chase met while attending the University of Minnesota Duluth sometime in 2007. Summer break was approaching and Kris had been dreaming up a grand trip. He wanted to bicycle the length of the West Coast of the United States from Seattle to the Mexican border.
Kris was looking for a partner and invited Zach to join. Not having any real bike touring experience the two teamed up and the planning began, getting more and more real by the day. After a few months of training and planning the two set off toward the coast with Kris's brother Justin, roomate Nik, bikes, and gear crammed into and on top of Nik's family Prius.
Reaching the coast the two said goodbye to their support and headed south, not really knowing what to expect. Documenting the trip with photographs and a daily journal (later turned into a book), the two pedaled for 30 days and over 1700 miles later the two reaching the US/ Mexico border.
After the trip was finished and they returned to Duluth Kris and Zach began discussing future plans and settled on a nonstop circumnavigation of the Great Lakes.
"Big Water", Summer 2012.
My love for the wild started at a very young age, when I would go and visit the family cabin on the north shore of Lake Superior. I explored the north shore on hiking trips through the woods and on long walks on agate beaches.
My adventurous side was sparked when my brother Justin and I were allowed to take a solo road trip to the Sturgis Bike Rally at age 16. After that trip, there was no looking back.
My memories of the North Shore brought me back after high school graduation, when I decided to attend the University of Minnesota Duluth in fall of 2004. It was there that I realized a person could get paid for nature and adventure, so I decided to work towards degrees in Life Science Education and Outdoor education. While attending college, I kept busy with kayak and outdoor skills instruction, and ultimate Frisbee.
I completed my student teaching abroad in Belize and graduated in May of 2010. I am currently the Event Director for the Fitger’s Brewhouse and everyday I look out at Lake Superior and dream of BIG WATER!
Since I was born my parents have brought me north from our home to visit the area surrounding Lake Superior. The first time they brought me, months after I was born, we stayed at a resort and I slept in the dresser drawer.
As I grew up we continued to visit the area and pass through on our way to the Boundary Waters; Lake Superior came to be known as "Big Water". When we are young it seems like everything is enormous. The Lake still has that effect on me today.
The area around the big lake has impacted my life a great deal and helped to form who I have become as a person. I attended college in Duluth and received my BFA in Digital Arts with an emphasis in Photography. A great deal of my free time was spent around the lake. Spending time outside means a lot to me and all of my hobbies revolve around it. I owe a lot to my family for helping to instill those values in me.
I am currently in a term of service with Conservation Corps Minnesota as a member of the Duluth Crew. After the trip I hope to attend Wolf Ridge and eventually get a Graduate Degree in Outdoor Education and become an educator/ guide.
WEST COAST TOUR FACTS
- 3 states (Washington, Oregon, California)
- Longest dist. traveled in 1 day: 105 mi.
It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.
A Journey By Bicycle Around The Great Lakes
Kris and Zach just after crossing the California border - 2008
Founded: 2011 (Duluth, MN)
Industry: Motion Pictures
Co-Founders/ Key People; Jay Lewis & Josh Crotty
Currently working on: Pre-production on a feature entitled "Spare Change" (in storyboarding & casting stage), Big Water Bike's Great Lakes Documentary, and the early stages of writing another feature.
Beginnings: In 2002 Josh and Jay meet at a local skatepark in they're hometown, both skaters, but one had a love for art and another for films. Jay started to film friends skating and doing stunts, which lead to writing and actually making home movies with stories. With Jay's love of films, he enrolled in film school to follow his passion and Josh became a tattoo artist after high school. Jay writes, films, and edits, Josh produces, funds, and cast the films.
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