Part one Editor’s Note: This is the second in a two-part series about local adventurer Brian Fiori.
ran in the April 10th issue of Intelligencer.
EDWARDSVILLE - When Brad Fiori doesn’t tackle the “triple crown” of hiking, he’s finding other ways to stay active.
Fiori, who retired from his job as a manual worker four years ago at the age of 48 to get on the trail and see the world, is preparing to hike the 3,100 mile Continental Divide Trail, which is his last stage is on the Triple Crown of Hiking.
Combined with the Appalachian Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail, that’s a total of nearly 8,000 miles on foot in one of the most remote and unforgiving areas on earth.
Brad Fiori, who lives in Edwardsville, retired from his job at the age of 48 to see the world. In the four years since he has:
• Bicycling Vietnam
• Walking and Biking the Peruvian Andes
• Walk England
• Cycle the perimeter of Iceland
• Cycle the 12,000 mile US perimeter
• Complete the 2,200-mile Appalachian Trail
• Thru The 2,650-mile Pacific Crest Trail amid the COVID-19 pandemic
On April 21, Fiori begins its most ambitious challenge to date: the 3,100-mile ridge of the United States, the Continental Divide Trail.
But some of Fiori’s other hiking and biking adventures were just as challenging, especially in 2018 and 2019,when he circled the 12,000 mile long US perimeter.
In 2018, Fiori had a friend take him to Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia, and he wanted to cycle to Key West, Florida; but he had no intention of doing the “Pedal the Perimeter” ride.
“There’s no documentation, but there is an honor system in the cycling community, just like the hiking community, and probably only a few hundred people have,” said Fiori, a Staunton native who is now in Edwardsville lives.
“When I got to Key West I thought this was a pretty cool lifestyle and decided to head to South Padre Island, Texas on the Gulf (coast). I had read about Pedal the Perimeter and decided I could do it.“
Fiori drove from South Padre Island across the Texas border to New Mexico and Arizona, where he drove on the Pacific Coast Highway from San Diego to Port Angeles, Washington. He drove back to Seattle from Port Angeles.
After a big blizzard hit the Dakotas and Montana, Fiori parked his bike in Seattle and flew home. He called his friend and they drove east and walked another 250 miles of the Appalachian Trail over a couple of weeks.
About a month after leaving town, Fiori returned to Seattle and resumed his trek, which eventually ended in West Virginia at Harper’s Ferry. The entire “Pedal the Perimeter” journey took four months and 11,338 miles.
“I’ve met the greatest people along the way and a lot of them helped me,” said Fiori. “I went out to see the United States three miles an hour on foot or 15 miles an hour on a bike, but what I really found was the kindness of humanity.
“I literally slept in strange houses and had dinner with them. They told me if I had to stay a few days I could.
After completing the last major stretch of the Appalachian Trail in 2019, Fiori was home for two weeks but became restless.
“I called my friend and asked if she would like to fly to England and take the Coast to Coast Trail,” said Fiori. “I booked us a couple of tickets and within three weeks with no hotel reservations we flew there and took the train to the north of England and just walked about 200 miles to get to the North Sea. " Hiked the Pacific Coast Trail, Fiori called his girlfriend and asked if she would like to go to Vietnam and they arrived in Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) where they cycled 1,200 miles to the Chinese border for three weeks “I saw a YouTube video about two people doing it and I decided we could do it,” said Fiori. “We got there about three months after we bought the tickets, so we had something Time to plan.I contacted a bike shop in Ho Chi Minh City and we reserved a night in a hostel there.
“I didn’t know the language and it was a complete culture shock. The guy in the bike shop spoke English and set us up with a couple of bikes and the next day we headed out. We wondered how the Vietnamese people would accept two Americans on bikes, but they were just great. “
In terms of natural splendor, Fiori’s 2018 trip to circumnavigate the scope of Iceland is above the rest.
Fiori and his friend had their bikes dismantled before leaving St. Louis and reassembled at a bike shop in Reykjavík when they arrived.
“We took the bikes for a test ride and made a few changes and spent the night in a hostel. The next morning we were on the Iceland ring road that goes around the island, ”said Fiori. “It’s about 920 miles, but this trip wasn’t about the miles. It was about the beauty of Iceland.
“We spent one night in a hostel, showered and washed laundry, but otherwise we only lived in our tent. People ask me where do I want to go back to and the best trip was Vietnam but the nicest trip we’ve ever had was Iceland. “
“ We spent one night in a hostel, showered and washed laundry, but otherwise we only lived in our tent. People ask me where do I want to go back toand the best trip was Vietnam, but the nicest trip we’ve ever had was Iceland. “