Rolling along non-interstate highways between Minnesota and New York with a bike trailer behind him, the Dutchman has made pretty good time (50 miles a day), while raising money for a new Spinal Cord Injury/Disorder Center at the Minneapolis VA Medical Center, via his website, www.myspace.com/dutchmanrolling. (Instead of kicking him off their lawn, Wal-Mart made a donation.) His secret is to not push the electric motor. "I go an hour, then I gotta stop for about 25 minutes and let it cool down," he says.
The Dutchman has faced worse dangers than a burnt-out motor: While changing wires on his batteries in a bike path between Madison and Milwaukee, a snake got its teeth in him. "He bit my stump," says Vranken, who lost his lower left leg in a bus accident last year (had had been drinking, and fell under the vehicle). The swelling on the stump has gone down, so he doesn't think the snake was poisonous.
"Life goes on," he says. "My new hairspray is insect repellent."