Love on the trails: 38 years later, couple takes anniversary ride that started it all | Local

Back in 1984, Dave and Jean Berreckman got engaged on the BRAN route (left). They decided to take a reunion trip for the first time this year (right) wearing the same cheetah print shorts from the ’80s.

Courtesy photo

WAHOO — It was 1984, and Dave Berreckman was on a weeklong bike trip across Nebraska. Cycling next to him was the love of his life.He and Jean Sobieszczyk, a girl with light-blond hair and a bright smile, had been dating for several months. Dave was sure he wanted to be with her forever — but how to tell her?He wanted to propose somewhere along the Bike Ride Across Nebraska (BRAN) route, but he wasn’t sure exactly where. Everything had to be just right.Then, he heard the ride was finishing near Grand Island, the location of a fun run where the two had first spoken to each other.

Will you marry me? Check yes or no …The ring was hidden in an empty aspirin bottle tucked in his front pack and out of Jean’s sight. Toward the end of the ride, Dave asked Jean if she wanted to pull off to get something to eat nearby. Instead, they ended up taking a detour to a familiar spot.

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Jean said she began to get suspicious. Nervous.“As we were pulling into this place where we actually met, my heart started pounding,” she said.Dave’s father pulled up to deliver flowers — daisies — Jean’s favorite. Then, Dave got down on one knee.

“This is where we first met, so this is where I’d like to ask you to stay in my life forever,” he said. “Will you marry me?”With a resounding “Yes!” from Jean, the two began the rest of their lives next to that bike trail. Jean and Dave were married less than a year later. Thirty-eight years, two kids and two grandkids later, the pair is still together and happily in love.“After the 500-mile bike ride, she was worn down enough to say yes,” Dave joked.

Today, the Berreckmans live in Holdrege, and Jean is a former middle school counselor. In celebration of her recent retirement, Dave and Jean wanted to take a trip together.Dave said he wanted to go to Hawaii, but Jean suggested BRAN.So, the two set off on a ride to retrace the route where their love first began. The week of their engagement was BRAN’s fifth ride, and this year was the 40th. “It’s romantic, very reminiscent and reflective,” Dave said. “It’s been a joy.”

Jean Berreckman (from left) Dave Berreckman and Barb Bohaty pose for a portrait after finishing the Bike Ride Across Nebraska Saturday in Wahoo.

JAIDEN TRIPI, Lincoln Journal Star

Pedaling along with them was their dear friend, Barb Bohaty, who played an integral part in their relationship. Bohaty was there when Dave and Jean first met, and she was also along on the pair’s engagement ride.“She’s the reason we’re together,” Dave said.After the two met at the Grand Island run, Bohaty helped arrange a place for Dave and his friends to stay so he and Jean would have a chance to connect. She’s been walking alongside the couple ever since.She even hand-sewed the matching cheetah print bike shorts Dave and Jean wore on their engagement ride.Saturday, the couple posed for a picture in those same shorts, re-creating the picture from the most important bike ride of their lives.Bohaty is a 30-time BRAN rider who has continued to faithfully participate in the event since her friends’ engagement, but she was thrilled to accompany them for their first BRAN ride since ‘84.“It’s like coming and having a family reunion with people who like to ride bikes,” she said.The trio finished their week of biking Saturday in Wahoo. Bohaty and the Berreckmans rode alongside 375 cyclists, trekking through towns such as Alliance, Callaway, Ord and Shelby.

Cindy Lange-Kubick: The light of love (in the shadow of a giant lightbulb) at Haymarket ParkDave said he enjoyed the scenery and the chance to get to know the group. He didn’t get to do that last time — he was a little distracted.“I was infatuated with her and wanted to marry her,” Dave said. “So all my thoughts were about her and I.”Today, he’s just as in love with Jean, but this year’s ride was about nostalgia.As the pair rolled across the prairie, past churches and farm towns, they were reminded of their love for each other. With all the children, grandchildren and careers come plenty of happy memories.“Her and I have established what we wanted to do, and we’ve lived a great life,” Dave said.

Biking, hiking and rowing: How to prepare for outdoor activities this spring

Biking

Bicycling.com recommends taking a bicycle out for a test ride before purchasing it as well as making sure you have a comfortable seat and are acclimated to the brakes. It’s also important to wear a well-fitting helmet and to bike with a partner whenever possible. Nolan Hyland, a personal trainer with the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), also suggests scoping out good locations for cycling that are away from busy streets. “There’s all kinds of good forums available online for cyclers,” Hyland says.

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Hiking

Wesley Trimble, the communications and creative director of the American Hiking Society, suggests lower body stretches to prepare areas like calves, hamstrings, quads and glutes since, “those are all of the big muscle groups that people will be using for hiking and trail running and snowshoeing.” Those same muscle groups should also get some TLC after your workout is finished to prevent soreness, especially if your hike included a lot of elevation gain, Trimble says.

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Hiking or camping

Trimble also recommends making sure you bring along the 10 essentials of hiking for any outdoor excursion: appropriate footwear; map and compass; water and a purifying source; food; rain gear and layers that will dry quickly if they get wet; safety items such as a light, fire source and a whistle; a first aid kit; a knife or multi-tool; sun protection; and shelter.

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Mountain Climbing

A large amount of climbing incidents (including more than 80% of snow incidents) occur during the descent. Trimble says this is often because climbers run out of resources or are fatigued and can’t get themselves down from their location. That’s why Trimble recommends having a defined timeline to make sure climbers get back to their home base in time without running out of resources. And, Hyland stresses, “Always make sure you take your water; don’t leave your water in the car.”

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Rock climbing

Rock climbing outdoors in cooler temperatures requires layers and gloves that you can take on and off so that you can regulate your temperature. This is especially important because, unlike at a gym, “if you’re belaying while somebody else is climbing, you’re just still and you get cold,” according to Courtenay Schurman, the founder of Body Results. Schurman also recommends doing easier pitches “as a warmup for something harder.”

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Horseback riding

Staying upright on a horse is crucial to having a successful ride, and Hyland notes that the key to staying upright on horseback is core strength, which requires working on pelvic and core exercises. According to My Equestrian Style, planks, supermans, leg raises and reverse crunches are good ways to build core strength for riding.

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Rowing, canoeing, paddling and kayacking

When doing outdoor activities on open water, Schurman recommends having a turnaround point and also knowing what direction the wind will be going so you don’t find yourself too far out in the water having to row against the wind. “If you go with the wind too far out and then you’re tired, and you have to go against the wind, you’re going to be in a lot of hurt,” Schurman says. You can determine the direction of the wind using instruments like wind vanes or by testing the wind with your finger or even by turning your head to see which direction the wind is coming from.

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Snowboarding, snowshoeing and skiing

When snowboarding and skiing, Hyland recommends doing workouts that focus on time under tension. “Anything where you’re isolating in a squat,” Hyland says. “Whether you’re doing a wall squat … or a band walk.” Schurman also recommends starting slowly. “You don’t want to go out so hard that all of the sudden you’re just drenched in sweat because that means you’ve sweat through your layers and you’re going to get chilled,” Schurman says.

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Skateboarding

Skateboard warmup exercises should focus on ankles, hamstrings, knees and quadriceps. In an article for Skateboard GB, strength and conditioning coach Yannis Kostadinomanolakis recommends a 10-minute warmup that includes raising up on the balls of your feet, rolling over on the sides of your feet, reaching over to touch your toes, squats, lunges, raising your knee in front of and to the side of your body, and preparing your upper body by twisting your torso back and forth.

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Backpacking

Going on a trek with only a few items is already a challenge, but carrying a heavy backpack along with you can be a struggle if you don’t prepare adequately. “Think of the outdoors as your gym. You wouldn’t lift 200 pounds without warming up, right? Similarly, you wouldn’t throw 45 pounds on your back and just take off. Walk around in the parking lot, do some squats or kicks, and once you have your pack on, ease into your pace. At 15 minutes, get some water, strip a layer and go for your stride,” Schurman says.

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Fishing

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service notes that first-time fishers should make sure they have a fishing license (in several states this is required for anyone 16 and older), good quality equipment and lures. For safety, the USFWS recommends fishing with a companion, not casting sharp fishing hooks near other people and wearing a Coast Guard-approved flotation device or life vest.

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Roller-skating

If you plan to hit the pavement outdoors, U.K.-based Roller Girl Gang recommends having your path (and an escape route) planned out, wearing protective gear according to your comfort and skill level, and making sure you clear a path for others to be able to pass you as you skate.

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Basketball

When deciding to play basketball outdoors, choosing the correct shoes is important. According to Basketballworld.com, they should be breathable and made out of leather and mesh fabrics. Players should also bring a backpack and select a ball that will not deflate quickly.

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Tennis

Preparation for a tennis match is equal parts physical and mental. The United States Tennis Association recommends getting a good night’s sleep, waking up at least two hours before your match and doing warmup exercises (sprints, quick feet drills, reaction drills, shadows with racquet) and warming up with an opponent. But your preparation should also involve “mental activation.” The USTA recommends avoiding mentally draining activities and instead finding a quiet place to listen to music or read in the 15 to 30 minutes before your match.

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Beach workout

Training on sand can offer different benefits than being on grass or a gym floor and can lead to greater performance improvements. Schurman advises against piling on layers if you’re working out on the beach or during warm weather. For people who do layer up in warmer temperatures in an effort to sweat more, Schurman says, “It’s very likely that they’ve actually caused themselves to be dehydrated. … Some sweating is good (but) … that’s so unhealthy.” Make sure you also apply sunscreen and plan your workouts for early in the morning or later in the evening so your sun exposure is less.

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Jump rope

The key to a successful jump rope workout? Having the right jump rope. This means ensuring that your jump rope is the correct length for your height. Dick’s Sporting Goods’ blog says you should step on the middle of the jump rope and pull the handles up by your shoulders. “The cables, not the handles, should hit right around your armpits.” You should also make sure you’re using an appropriate rope for your experience level and workout setting. For example, leather jump ropes are better for outdoors.

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Surfing

Preparing for surfing involves a lot of swimming to prepare the back and shoulder muscles, according to SwellWoman, a wellness and travel company that offers yoga, surfing and health retreats for women. Aspiring surfers can also get their bodies ready by doing push-ups, planks, squats and even yoga to prepare their whole bodies for riding the waves.

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Archery

According to Archery360, archery works your shoulder and back areas, involving many key muscles. To properly prepare and condition those muscles, Archery360 recommends exercises like yoga, side planks and single-arm dumbbell raises. Archery also involves a stable lower body so exercises that engage your core can also be helpful.

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Kite flying

Kite sales have seen an uptick in India, where people flew kites from their homes as a diversion during lockdown. If you’re interested in joining the fun from wherever you are, it’s important to make sure your ornate kite wi ll fly. Sending your kite sky-high is related to upward force (lift), downward force of gravity (weight), forward force (thrust), and the backward force opposing the direction of motion (drag), according to the Smithsonian. Balancing these forces involves paying attention to the wind but also adjusting your walking patterns, arm movements and even spinning of the kite to keep it in the air. Kitty Hawk Kites recommends flying your kite in an open space away from power lines, making sure the wind doesn’t exceed 20 miles per hour, wearing gloves with large kites, and using a release system so you don’t get dragged by a heavy kite.

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Outdoor yoga

When doing yoga outdoors, Yoga International recommends practicing with a mat to avoid certain hazards, checking the weather, clearing your practice area of debris and making sure there aren’t any allergens around you.

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Reach the writer at 402-473-7241 or jthompson@journalstar.com

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