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Biking Viking Anders Forselius bikes 7,000 miles, runs and raises money for cancer research

Big Ole greeted Anders Forselius, the "Biking Viking," when he stopped in Alexandria Wednesday. Forselius is biking from New York to Seattle and back to New York by November. He'll cover 7,000 miles and run 12 marathons along the way. Someone he met along the way encouraged him to check out the Central Lakes Trail, which brought him to Alexandria.

Anders Forselius, the "Biking Viking" from Sweden, was in town last week to meet the giant Viking of Alexandria.

Anders Forselius, meet Big Ole - Big Ole, this is Anders Forselius.

When asked what he thought of the giant Viking, Anders looked skyward, laughed and said, "Wow. I had no idea about this statue."

Anders is currently on his fourth bike tour of the United States - he's en route from New York to Seattle, and Alexandria is where he stopped for a cup of coffee last Wednesday.

He said he originally planned to bike through Iowa and Nebraska, but he's always wanted to see North Dakota and that's where he was headed last weekend.

Somewhere between Minneapolis and Sauk Centre, someone told him about the Central Lakes Trail and he decided to check it out.

"This is a wonderful trail," Anders said. "It reminds me of Sweden with all the lakes. It feels like I'm home."

The swing in weather last Tuesday to Wednesday also reminds him of Sweden - 98 degrees on Tuesday and 58 degrees on Wednesday.

"Same thing in Sweden," Anders said.

He said he meets anywhere from 15 to 50 people along his routes each day.

"I meet just the nicest people every day on the bicycle. People in the U.S. are so friendly," he said.

Most of the time, Anders said, he stays in people's homes along the trail.

"When they hear my cute Swedish accent they invite me in," he joked. "People really do, they feed me and they're so nice. That 'Minnesota Nice' thing is pure truth. I'm thinking about coming back through here. I always have such a good time in the Midwest."Marathons, too

When he gets to Seattle he'll turn around and ride back to New York for a whopping total of 7,000 miles round trip on a bike.

What's even more incredible is that Anders, 43, also sprinkles in a few marathons along his lengthy bike tour routes.

Since he left New York on April 18, he has run marathons in Boston, Pittsburgh, Madison and Minneapolis - and plans to run eight more before wrapping up his tour in November when he'll run the New York City Marathon.

Along the way, Anders is raising money for cancer research. He's selling every foot of the New York Marathon for $1.

"I figure there's about 140,000 feet in the marathon and all the money will go to 'Fred's Team' for cancer research," Anders said.

Fred's Team honors legendary runner Fred Lebow.

You can follow Anders' journey and donations can be made through his website at www.bikingviking.se.

Anders has also biked across South America and Europe several times and he's always sure to include a few marathons too.

"I always tell my mother after every trip that I promise this will be my last trip. Then, two months later, I'm always out on a new tour," Anders said. "I guess I'm too curious to settle down for a while."

Amy Chaffins

Amy Chaffins is a journalist working for the Echo Press newspaper in Alexandria, Minnesota.

(320) 763-3133
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