Skip to main content

At 72, this MN woman's dream of biking across the country is coming true

  • Author:
  • Updated:

It's been Hanna Elshoff’s dream to ride a bike across the United States.

And finally, at age 72, she's doing it.

Elshoff immigrated to Iowa from Germany in 1961 at the age of 18, and she wanted to ride her bicycle to Texas, stopping at small towns along the way. But her host family said it wasn't safe, and she's regretted not going ever since, The Chatfield News reported.

But now, after more than five decades, the Chatfield resident is just a few days away from departing on her dream trip – and she'll use the adventure to raise awareness for Lions Club International and Leader Dogs for the blind, organizations she's reportedly very involved in.

“This trip is going to be my way of thanking America for all that it has done for me. America saved my life,” she told the Bluff Country Newspaper Group.

She leaves Rochester Saturday on her solar-powered ELF (electric, light, fun) three-wheeled pedal bike for the first leg of her two-year journey across the country, ABC 6 says. She'll travel about 40 miles a day through eight states, with the goal of finishing in Plains, Georgia, at the end of October, reports note.

There, she hopes to meet former President Jimmy Carter, who still lives there. He inspired her to become a U.S. citizen to get the right to vote, the Rochester Post Bulletin notes.

Throughout her journey, she will make stops in communities with Lions Club chapters, where she plans to give a speech, solicit funds for the Leader Dog program and stay with a host family, reports say.

“They all know I’m crazy but also know this is what I want to do,” Elshoff told Bluff Country. “This is an adventure, something I’ve been planning for nearly two years. I’m really excited about it. And my family knows that I will be taken very good care of with all of the Lions Club members I will get to know on the way.”

This embed is invalid

Next Up

Screen Shot 2022-11-26 at 2.34.44 PM

Yes, that's MN native Jenny Taft in a State Farm commercial

Jenny Taft got her broadcasting career started in Minneapolis in 2011.

crime scene tape - police tape

23-year-old woman critical after shooting in Plymouth

A 23-year-old woman was shot Friday night in Plymouth.

white Christmas

2 MN towns among most 'magical' winter locations in the country

The list was compiled by Trips Discover and published earlier this month.

Screen Shot 2022-11-26 at 8.27.12 AM

St. Olaf football player charged after fatal crash in Chicago

The 18-year-old is accused of speeding and going the wrong way when he crashed into a vehicle that may have been attempting to flee police.

Screen Shot 2022-11-26 at 7.41.18 AM

Woman 34 weeks pregnant injured by drunk driver in Cottage Grove

The 49-year-old suspected of DUI was booked into jail around 1:30 a.m. Saturday.


2 dead, 5 injured in Thanksgiving Day crash near Alexandria

The crash involved two people from Alexandria and five from Bloomington.

Screen Shot 2022-11-25 at 6.44.11 PM

Lengthy standoff in Prior Lake ends late Friday night

The suspect allegedly assaulted an officer outside Kwik Trip, fled and broke into a home.

snow - 12-10-21 - Joe Nelson - 5

Accumulating snow possible in Twin Cities next week

The storm system could arrive in the Tuesday-Wednesday timeframe.

Target store snow

With Black Friday barely underway, Target reveals Cyber Monday deals

Plans for the two-day sale were revealed Friday morning.

Screen Shot 2022-11-25 at 9.37.25 AM

Man waves replica assault weapon at drivers in downtown Minneapolis

The alarming incident was spotted by the new MPD chief, Brian O'Hara.

Screen Shot 2022-11-25 at 9.29.58 AM

Extremely drunk driver arrested in Chaska

The driver was more than four times the legal limit.

Screen Shot 2022-11-25 at 8.21.21 AM

Stillwater police looking for suspect who stole vehicle with 1-year-old inside

The suspect abandoned the vehicle with the child still inside just 5 minutes after the theft.


Justin Bieber fan's dream comes true

Jessica Hickman, 28, a big Justin Bieber fan who has Down syndrome and in August was diagnosed with breast cancer, met the pop star before his concert at the Target Center last weekend, KARE 11 reports.

Woman, 72, burned in grass fire

Patricia Pauna, 72, was air-lifted to a hospital in Duluth after she received severe burns to her arms and legs when when she tried to put a grass fire with a shovel in rural Itasca County, the Duluth News Tribune reports. The fire had started in a pit and spread to nearby tall grasses. Local fire crews and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources put it out.