Duo completes bike trip from Key West to Bar Harbor

Jeff Furnia (left) and Ann Tardy ride down School Street in Ellsworth on Monday, July 2, 2012. The pair was wrapping up their 2,700-mile cycling trip from Key West, Fla., to Bar Harbor.
Noonie Doyle
Jeff Furnia (left) and Ann Tardy ride down School Street in Ellsworth on Monday, July 2, 2012. The pair was wrapping up their 2,700-mile cycling trip from Key West, Fla., to Bar Harbor.
Posted July 02, 2012, at 7:33 p.m.

ELLSWORTH, Maine — It took 39 days, but a pair of lawyers on Monday completed their 2,700-mile bicycle ride from Key West to Bar Harbor.

It was the second “Moxie Ride” for Ann Tardy, the Redbank, N.J., founder of The LifeMoxie Consulting Group, a management training and mentorship company. Tardy was joined by her longtime friend Jeff Furnia, with whom she studied at Chicago-Kent College of Law.

The two have cycled 70 to 100 miles per day. They are trailed by an intern in an RV, where they’ve eaten and slept for the past month.

The trip is part research and part charitable. Tardy is riding to conduct research to support her company’s work in integrating mentorship into corporate management. Furnia is riding to raise money for research on Lou Gehrig’s disease, which has left a friend in a wheelchair and unable to speak. Through donations, Furnia has raised more than $5,600.

Last year, Tardy did a solo ride from San Francisco to the Jersey Shore. Along the way, she interviewed people about their jobs, asking questions about what they loved about their work and about what made for a good or bad manager. The result was an hourlong documentary, “The Moxie Ride.”

Tardy is doing interviews this year as well, trying to find out what makes for fulfilling work and good management. Tardy does a lot of public speaking, and the research from the road makes for compelling keynotes, she said.

“You can throw around a lot of statistics, but we’ve found out from people what really matters to them at their jobs,” she said Monday as the duo took a break in Ellsworth before their last 21-mile stretch to Bar Harbor.

In Maine, Tardy and Furnia interviewed an RV park manager in York Harbor and a secretary in they-can’t-remember-where. The pair has spoken with garbage collectors and railroad yard workers, retailers and entrepreneurs.

This time around, each interview has been posted on YouTube. Tardy is going to use the material for a new book, “Rousing The Remarkable,” which she expects to have finished by next year. She already has published two books, “LifeMoxe: Ambition on a Mission — 9 Strategies for Taking Life by the Horns” and “Moxie for Managers — The Secret to Evolving from Manager to Leader.”

Tardy said the interview that stuck with her most was one with Ed Lane, a garbage collector in New Jersey. She interviewed him on a hot, muggy summer day as he was picking up the trash.

She expected a difficult interview, she said, so she was surprised to hear Lane gush about how much he loved his co-workers, his customers and the 18 years he had spent collecting the garbage.

“No one expects that,” she said.

Tardy and Furnia said they’ve been graced with mostly good luck during their trip. They’ve suffered only four flat tires, which they say isn’t bad considering the distance covered. They took just one day off, in Myrtle Beach, and they encountered only one instance of foul weather.

In the Outer Banks of North Carolina, they rode for 70 miles through pouring rain and 35-mph wind. Sand blasted their cheeks and legs as they pedaled, Furnia said.

“It felt like I was in a washing machine, but with more water,” he said.

Tardy and Furnia were joined by their spouses, who flew into Maine this weekend. They plan to spend the next four days in Bar Harbor to celebrate the end of their long trip. None have visited Maine before, so their first plan is simple, if predictable:

“We’re gonna celebrate tonight,” Tardy said. “We’re going to have lobster.”

Follow Mario Moretto on Twitter at @riocarmine.

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