After a total hip replacement in 2005, Terry Stille, now 57, was no longer able to run. So he turned to cycling instead, first as a form of recovery and therapy, and later as something he really began to enjoy. Within a year of picking up the sport, he found himself doing rides as long as 65 miles.
Then roughly six years ago, he moved to Woodbury, Minnesota. Being new to the area, he figured riding as many different streets as possible would be a great way to explore.
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“I started off with just the major arteries in the county, and then at some point I just decided to keep doing new roads every time,” he told Bicycling. “I really got serious about two years ago, getting into the residential stuff and getting obsessive about covering everything.”
Then Stille came across the hashtag #everysinglestreet on Strava. It’s a trend made popular by runner Rickey Gates, who ran every street in San Francisco. So, he thought, why not do the same thing on a bike instead?
He started out on his quest in March of 2014, setting out on his first ride of many in his mission to cover every publicly accessible, legally rideable road in Washington County. Nearly six years later, after lots of mapping, dedication, and riding, Stille completed his goal on September 20.
Stille estimates that the total mileage of roads in the county adds up to around 4,000. But between having to retrace his steps occasionally and doing other rides, he rode 7,000 miles over the course of the past six years.
Coming from a mapping background—Stille works on mapping out power lines for the local power company—he started tracking his progress on printed maps from the county, using a Sharpie to trace over roads he’d ridden.
But once he had covered the major roads, tracking the smaller ones required a better method. So Stille turned to Strava. Not only did the app make it easier for him to track everything, it also allowed him to better plan his routes ahead of time. That way, he could easily follow his preplanned routes and watch as he traced them on Strava while he rode.
“It was kind of like doing a Pac-Man game,” he said.
He also used satellite imagery for finding dirt roads, which are common in the rural northern area of the county. So while most of his miles were done on his road bike, Stille would occasionally use his hybrid bike if roads were muddy or slushy.
Over the past year, Stille finally began to see the end of the tunnel. He had ridden much of the county, but most of the remaining roads were on the outskirts, far from his home.
“This year I couldn’t ride from home anymore. I’d have to drive twenty, thirty miles to get to the start,” he said.
Despite having to drive to begin many of his rides, Stille was more motivated than ever.
“The farther I got along, the more I could see that I could actually finish this season,” he said.
And so, on September 20, after his meticulous tracking and ensuring that he had ridden any new roads that had been built recently, Stille biked the final unridden section of his county.
He’s left with the satisfaction of having completed a pursuit that few would even attempt, ridiculously thorough knowledge of his local road network, and an awesome video showing a timelapse of his Strava rides—not to mention bragging rights.