Genealogy Inspires Georgia Man to Get Back On Bicycle to Visit Sites of His Ancestors

A scare with traffic kept D. Gordon Draves off of his bicycle for 25 years. Learning about his ancestors got him back on. For the past three summers, the 71-year-old East Point resident has embarked on ambitious bike trips in the hopes of learning about his family’s history. Even places that didn’t turn up much in the way of documentation still paid off, Draves says. “It really just feels good to follow in the footsteps of your ancestors.”

You can read an interview with D. Gordon Draves in the AJCePaper at

By the way, I have to insert a personal comment here:

The article about D. Gordon Draves hit home with me. I read it about twenty minutes after returning home from a 17-mile ride on my 3-wheel recumbent tricycle. Like the experience of D. Gordon Draves described above, I rode bicycles for many years but gave them up after some medical problems. I was lazy for several years and gained quite a bit of weight. About four years ago, I discovered 3-wheel recumbent trikes and fell in love with them. I purchased one and now try to ride it about 100 miles a week, weather permitting.

This was my first tricycle in many years!

You can see a small picture of my trike below. Click on that picture to view a larger image.

I won’t bore readers of this newsletter with my story of bicycles, tricycles, and health improvement. However, if anyone really wants to know the details, drop me an email message and I will reply, telling you how much my health improved once I started riding regularly.

I recently heard Henry Louis Gates Jr. , the host of the very popular Finding Your Roots television program on PBS, describe his 3-wheel recumbent trike. Apparently, he rides it often when he is at home. (He travels a lot.) He rides some of the same bike trails that I do in Massachusetts although I don’t recall ever meeting him while on the trail.

How important is your health? Do you like bicycles? or tricycles?


Hey! Good for you Dick! More power to you!


One of my friends from the Germanic Genealogy Society of St Paul Minnesota took many trips to Germany riding a bicycle from village to village. He shared photos of his trip with us.


Reblogged this on Janet's thread and commented:
I don’t plan to do this but found it interesting none the less.


What brand of bike did you buy. Figured you researched these pretty well.
Thanks Tom


    —> What brand of bike did you buy.

    I purchased an HP Velotechnik, a German trike. See

    However, there are a number of good brands available. I picked the HP Velotechnik simply because there was a dealer near where I lived who let me take a test ride on it and said they would maintain it after I purchased it. That sounded like a good deal to me. Unfortunately, that dealer closed up shop and went out of business about two weeks after I purchased it. (sigh)

    The manufacturer, HP Velotechnik, is still very much in business but now the closest dealer is about 30 miles away. I do minor mechanical repairs and adjustments myself but, if I ever need a part, I have to drive 60 miles round-trip or else order online. So far, nothing has broken other than two flat tires. Luckily, the tires and tubes are common and are available at most any well-equipped bike shop.


    Thanks Dick. The Gekko fx 26 looks like a great bike—-will get busy and see if there is a dealer close to Bloomington Ill


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