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Rotary cyclist on 1,000-mile trek stops in Chester

  • Ralph Zuke takes Chester Rotary President Tonya Cowan on a barcalounger rickshaw ride through the drive-up lane at Buena Vista National Bank in Chester Wednesday, May 4. Zuke is riding from St. Louis to Houston to raise funds and awareness for Rotary International's efforts to eradicate polio.

    Ralph Zuke takes Chester Rotary President Tonya Cowan on a barcalounger rickshaw ride through the drive-up lane at Buena Vista National Bank in Chester Wednesday, May 4. Zuke is riding from St. Louis to Houston to raise funds and awareness for Rotary International's efforts to eradicate polio.
    Gwendy Garner Photo

 
By Gwendy Garner
Contributing writer
updated: 5/11/2022 9:47 AM

St. Louis Rotary Club member Ralph Zuke made a pit stop in Chester last week on his 1,000-mile bike ride to raise awareness for Rotary International's ongoing fight to eradicate polio throughout the world.

Zuke met with Chester Rotary Club members Wednesday, May 4, at the Chester Eagles just two days into his ride. He hopes to end his 31-day trip June 3 in Houston in time for the Rotary International convention having raised $20,000 for the cause.

Zuke left St. Louis May 3 on his tricked out ride -- a bicycle pulling a homemade barcalounger rickshaw.

"It gets a lot of attention as we go down the road or through towns," Zuke said.

Along the way Zuke is collecting donations for the cause and sharing the story of Rotary's quest to eradicate polio.

According to Zuke, when Rotary International began its signature campaign in 1984, there were an estimated 365,000 cases of polio around the world. "Now there are less than 50 known cases worldwide," he said.

His first day on the road included an overnight stop in Red Bud, where he spoke to the Red Bud Rotary Club. He is accompanied by a support vehicle driven by a longtime friend.

This is not Zuke's first ride for the Rotary cause. In 2018 he made a similar trip, raising almost $24,000 while riding 703 miles from St. Louis to Toronto, Canada, in 22 days.

Following the lunch meeting, Zuke gave Chester Rotary President Tonya Cowan a ride in the barcalounger rickshaw around Buena Vista National Bank, where she is employed.

Bank employees and passersby enjoyed the curious sight.

You can follow Zuke's journey on Facebook at Ralph's Rickshaw Ride for Polio.