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


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 2021-03-06 at 4.12.00 PM

Police seeking tips in search for road rage shooting suspect

The incident took place in Maplewood last week.

Paige Bueckers

Paige Bueckers lands on Wooden Award list for women's college basketball

The Hopkins grad is the only freshman on the 15-player ballot.

Jamal Mashburn Jr.

Gophers fall under .500 after OT loss to Rutgers

The Gophers are under .500 for the first time this season.

police tape, crime scene

Man arrested for killing of his father in Wabasha County

The 73-year-old man was found dead at a home in rural Zumbro Falls.

Jake Odorizzi

Report: Jake Odorizzi to sign with Astros

The former Twins pitcher is headed to Houston on a two-year deal.

covid-19, coronavirus

South African COVID-19 variant detected in Wisconsin

There have been no cases of the South African strain found in Minnesota.

Brian Dutcher

Could Brian Dutcher be Gophers target to replace Richard Pitino?

Dutcher's contract has a buyout clause that could lead him to Minnesota.

state patrol

Driver, 82, killed in Kandiyohi County crash involving semi

The elderly woman is a resident of Belgrade, Minnesota.


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.