Man to ride rare bike across U.S.


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Just getting onto the odd-looking bike is hard enough; now imagine riding it 4,000 miles across the country. Sound crazy? Fifty-five-year-old Martin Krieg of /*Palo Alto*/ says he hears it a lot.

"You're nuts, you're crazy. Why?" said Krieg.

On Sunday, Martin plans to hop on his replica of the historic backwards-facing Eagle Hi-Wheel Martin's has the only ride-able one known in the western hemisphere. Its giant 50 inch rear wheel ensures you can't fall forward, onto your face.

"At least if you crash on one of these bikes, they'll be able to bury you and you'll be able to be seen in an open coffin," said Krieg.

Martin's three-month trek will take him to 25 major cities, where he'll meet with mayors and drum up support for a national network of bike paths. Supporters in his bike-friendly hometown are cheering him on.

"I think he's doing a great service. We need to get out of our cars more," said Sharon Fox, Palo Alto resident.

To train, Martin has done some equally unconventional things. Since November, he's been sleeping on a thin pad, with just a thin blanket in an unheated garage. Every day when he wakes up he goes on a 20-mile ride -- all to toughen himself up for the difficult journey.

"This is a way to bring you back to severity -- so you can deal with life on the road," said Krieg.

Martin already knows a thing or two about challenges. A car crash in 1977 left him clinically dead. He was in a seven-week coma, woke up paralyzed, rehabilitated himself and devoted his new life to his causes; first, fundraising for head injury awareness and now promoting the National Bicycle Greenway. As part of the project, he's asking cyclists online to help plan and vote on bike routes using /*Google*/ mapping. Martin has hit a speed-bump, sponsorship is way down thanks to the recession. But he's hoping supporters will get onboard, after getting an eyeful of his Eagle.

"It's amazing, it's like public art. They want to see this out there, they want to be reminded of a time when things weren't so crazy and fast," said Krieg.

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