Don Eberle was born just over a year before my dad, in 1926. As far as I remember, they never met. But dad bought me my first three bikes, and Don, by cranking out the miles, showed me how the fourth bicycle could really be ridden. And where it could be ridden, which was everywhere.
The morning paper said he rode 12,000 miles a year and rolled up nearly 300,000 miles in his lifetime, which probably makes him central Illinois’ most prolific rider. And he didn’t race; he was simply a smooth, strong pedaler, usually headed for breakfast somewhere—day after day, year after year.
I don’t remember what brand of bicycle he rode. It was a well cared-for machine, and it had the usual array of Campy parts, but he could have ridden any maker’s machine with similar results. (I might add here, so could we all.)
He had two hobbies: raising roses and riding bicycles. If he was paying a lot of attention to his roses, his mileage would drop. Eventually, he’d pay a bit less attention to his roses, and his mileage would pick up again. The roses rooted him to his house in East Peoria, and all roads, however eventually, led him right back home.
And he had beautiful roses.