Live from Music Row Thursday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed Tennessee State Senator Kerry Roberts (R-Springfield) to the newsmaker line to talk about his 100-mile bike ride in support of Waverly, Tennessee flood victims.
Leahy: We welcome to our newsmaker line a good friend, state Senator Kerry Roberts. Good morning, Senator Roberts. Hey, how are you doing this morning?
Well, we’re doing great. Kerry, tell us about your 100 miles bike ride to raise funds for the victims of the Waverly flood.
Roberts: Well, the short version of the story is, I’m going to ride 100 miles on October 30th from the Robertson County Courthouse. I live in Robertson County and I live in Springfield, through Cheatham, Dickson, Hickman, and Humphreys Counties to the courthouse in Humphreys County in Waverly.
I’m going to do that on October 31st. And the reason I’m doing it, Michael, is we have a natural disaster that’s just terrible. It’s just devastating. And then you know what? Time moves on and people’s lives get busy and other things pop up and they move on to the next thing sometimes.
And yet the people in Waverly, the people in Humpreys County are still really struggling with this. And I just thought it would be a neat thing to do to kind of bring awareness to it and remind people and encourage people to either go and support the businesses in Humpreys County or to go volunteer their time.
Or the easiest maybe thing for a lot of people is just to give money. And so I’m hopeful that by doing this, I’ll accomplish one of those three objectives.
Leahy: So you’re a bicyclist.
Roberts: I’m a former. (Laughs) I’m a has-been, Michael. Look, you sat there in the studio with me and you know I’m not a spring chicken. This is a big challenge here. (Laughs)
Leahy: Neither of us are spring chickens, my friend. So the question is are you wearing one of these biker outfits? What are you wearing when you’re doing this thing?
Roberts: (Chuckles) Yeah, I’m going to be wearing bike shorts. I have a very funny story to tell you. When I very first ran for office years ago, I was running for Congress. In the very first race I was in, I lost.
And then, of course, I won the race for state senator. But I was in Washington, D.C., and I was talking to Lamar Alexander. And Lamar knew I owned bike shops. He knew that I was a cyclist.
And he said, you know, Kerry, I had a whole lot a lot. You don’t walk it across Tennessee. And he said, maybe you need to ride your bike around the district.
And I said, Lamar, you look pretty good in a red tie and a shirt. I’m just not sure the voters are ready to see me in spandex riding around the district. And he just kind of looked at me for a minute and he said, yeah, good point.
Don’t ride your bike around. (Laughter) All these years, I’ve managed to avoid pictures of myself in bike gear in the media, but that streak may be coming to an end. But you know what? I don’t care. I’m guessing kind of that point in my life, I don’t really care about those things like I used to.
Leahy: So can you do 100 miles in one day.
Roberts: Well, we’re going to see.
Leahy: What time are you starting? At dawn?
Roberts: My goal is to be there by 5:00 pm, and it ought to take probably six and a half, seven hours.
Leahy: When is the last time you rode 100 miles a day?
Roberts: 2006. I can tell you exactly. There’s a little bit more to this. You know and maybe some of your listers know. A year ago, I was in Neuro-ICU after having a brain hemorrhage.
Leahy: We recall.
Roberts: This was a year ago that I spent two and a half weeks in neural ICU at Skyline after a brain hemorrhage. And I remember sitting there in the hospital. I’ve got a picture that I took to just kind of reminds me.
And I remember sitting there thinking, would I ever be able to ride my bicycle again? Would I be able to ride my motorcycle again? And I haven’t been much of a bike rider in recent years, and I was regretting it.
I was thinking, man, when you’re laying in ICU and you’re wondering what your life is going to be like you start thinking about the things that maybe you wish you’d done. And I loved riding a bike.
A lot of times that’s my time with God. It’s just me, myself, and God. I decided this summer I thought, you know what? No kidding, people think I’m dead. I’ll go around to the district and I’ll see people whisper, I thought he was dead.
Because they see the headline, but they don’t see the story. And I thought, well, what a great way to dispel the exaggeration of my demise than riding a bike 100 miles from my district.
Leahy: As Mark Twain once wrote when somebody wrote his obituary. Rumors of my passing are greatly exaggerated.
Roberts: So I thought maybe ride my bike would be a great way to do that. But Michael, I got on my bike this summer. I recovered past the brain hemorrhage, and I started getting chased by dogs.
And I can’t just ride away from them like I used to. And I’d gotten mauled literally mauled by a Pitbull in 2015 riding my bike. And I didn’t realize how scared the dogs I was. So I started riding my bike this summer.
And then I thought, this is a bad idea. I don’t need to do this. I’m too old and I’m just going to put my bike up and forget about it. One of the reasons that we launched our bike stores was the Nashville flood.
And I remember very acutely that people would say, well, I didn’t know you got flooded. And I was like we didn’t have water in our stores. It’s just none of our customers were buying bikes for the next six months to a year because they didn’t have flood insurance.
They were trying to repair their house. They were buying carpet drywall, washers dryers. And bicycles are not the priority. And so I am very, very tuned in to the fact that these businesses in Waverly, many of whom on the square itself didn’t have water damage, they just don’t have people walking through the doors right now.
Leahy: Where do people go to help give money.
Roberts: Well, two things visit Humphreys. H-U-M-P-H-R-E-Y-S. Visithumphreys.com is the official tourism website for Humphreys County. It’s got a link as soon as you go to that website where you can donate all of the funds. I’m not touching a single dollar related to this. But what I’m trying to do is I’m trying to match up to a $50,000 anonymous donation that was made.
Leahy: So you go to visithumphreys.com. What do you click on?
Roberts: Click on the donate button. It is a lovely website. There are so many recreational and businesses you can support that you can find out about when you visit this website. It is a wonderful county for outdoor recreation.
Leahy: Right at the very top it says donate in a red button. Donate for flood relief. Visithumphreys.com. Safe travels on October 31 when you do a 100 miles bicycle ride, state Senator Kerry Roberts.
Roberts: Thank you, Michael.
Leahy: Thanks for joining us.
Listen to the first hour here:
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