Amy and Lib Rust... or is it Lib and Amy?
The participants in our cross-country adventure are a lively, friendly, fascinating lot. We have a sufficient supply of lawyers (seven), two medical doctors, several teachers and others ranging from a heavy truck designer to a Presbyterian pastor with a fine tenor singing voice. In this group, the Rust twins rank high on everyone's favorite riders list.
Elizabeth ("Lib") and Amy, 47, are identical. Each teaches kindergarten in Edmonds, Washington, just north of Seattle. They live together. They have the same phone number and email address. They dress alike or at least similarly. They have the same new Rodriguez custom touring bikes with S&S couplers. They ride together, their pedals moving in unison. Amy usually is in front because, she says, Lib is faster and would otherwise run ahead. They finish each other's sentences. And both are seriously competitive athletes. They bike, hike, swim and run, and in the winter they both teach cross-country and downhill skiing. Friends are trying to recruit them to play soccer, but they confess they're not too good at ball sports.
The twins are from a family of six children. They date their love of long-distance biking to 1976 when they and their parents rode the first leg of Bikecentennial from the Oregon coast to Prineville, Oregon.
"We're the only ones of our family who went with our parents," Amy says. "The others stayed home." Ever since, she says, she and her sister have biked all over the U.S. and Europe. Their four siblings don't bike at all. Their parents, now 79 and 77, however, still enjoy riding their bikes regularly.
Which twin likes the cross-country ride better? "We like it the same," Amy says, adding, "Lib has more guts." In the brutal heat of South Dakota's Badlands, Amy stopped three-quarters of the way to the end of the day's ride while Lib rode the entire distance. Of course, Amy had a good reason: She was recovering from a dislocated shoulder suffered a few days earlier on a water slide at a park along the way.