Sgt. Scott Picquet had pink cheeks and a windblown face when he started his shift Wednesday at the Chandler Police Department. He had just ridden his bicycle 10 miles to work and would be back on the bike for his eight-hour shift, before riding home again.
“I enjoy it a lot,” Picquet said. “I could do it forever.”
In fact, the six-year veteran Chandler officer enjoys cycling so much, he took a two-week vacation this month and pedaled about 660 miles from Cedar City, Utah, to Tempe.
He slept in tents, cooked his food, met with American Indians and watched in awe as wildlife roamed within feet of him.
“It’s so much more intimate to see the scenery when you’re on a bike than in a car,” Picquet said. “It’s so incredibly beautiful, you’re just overcome by the scenery.”
Picquet said the lengthy ride was a “mental and physical challenge” he had always wanted to tackle. He made the journey solo because he said no one else wanted go with him.
The officer rode an average of about 56 miles daily at an average speed of nearly 9 mph during the excursion. He pulled a trailer with his bicycle filled with food, water, a sleeping bag, a tent and other necessities. In the daylight, Picquet listened to music, relished the scenery and enjoyed the company of other travelers.
A flock of wild turkeys drifted into Picquet’s camp one night, and later some curious coyotes made a visit. While riding, he saw deer, antelope and big horn sheep.
“It’s so overwhelming physically and mentally,” Picquet said. “I had two days in particular when I just totally bonked. I had to pull over and take a nap.”
Picquet said he also encountered large hills, 9,000-foot elevations and a few broken bicycle parts. When a pedal broke, he cut a piece of barbed wire from a fence and repaired it himself. And when it was too dangerous for him to ride his bike through a one-way truck tunnel, he hitch-hiked a ride with a family.
When Picquet finally reached the Valley, he said it felt strange to be back in the bustling city after days of solitude.
“Coming back into town was good,” Picquet said. “But I was sad it was over.”
He paused as he thought about his next adventure. Then his eyes opened wider and he smiled.
“I guess there’s always Everest, huh?”