News From Terre Haute, Indiana

May 17, 2011

RAMBLIN' RECK: Cyclist Newlin makes pit stop

Attorney gets to rest at home on break from cross-country bike ride

Tom Reck
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — Tom Newlin was able to spend some time at home  this weekend as part of a rest time for bicycle riders participating in American By Bicycle.

The local attorney and the 19 others in his group – six from foreign countries – began Fast America North in California in April and will conclude the trip in Massachusetts on May 27.

They will have covered about 3,500 miles in 34 days, averaging 115 miles per day and riding in 13 states.

“We have had two rest days. One was in Albuquerque, N.M., and the other was in Springfield, Ill.,” he said Monday morning.

While the others took a break in Springfield, then rode to Tuscola, Newlin rode home to Terre Haute – 135 miles in the rain. He planned to rejoin the party in Lebanon, Ind.

Newlin has been doing serious bicycle riding for about 10 years and did Fast America South earlier that covered 2,900 miles. Before then, he did a lot of running. “I did nine marathons,” said the former Terre Haute Schulte athlete.

He was an official for 23 years and coached a lot of champions in 11 seasons with youth football.

A couple years ago, his chances of doing long rides were diminished. He underwent a five-hour heart surgery in 2010.

“I didn't know if I would ever be able to ride again at the level I am accustomed to riding,” said Newlin.

And prior to beginning this trip, he was hit with a virus that last five weeks. “It wasn’t the flu but it felt like it,” he said.

Riders may do segments of the trip. He said son T. C. rode from Albuquerque to Springfield.

As part of a project with the Terre Haute Rotary Club, Newlin has been reading once a month to first-grade students at Ben Franklin School. He said those students have been following his trip by the blog and he was going to see them before going to Lebanon on Monday.

He has been with Stark, Tanoos, Fleschner, Newlin Law Firm since it started 25 years ago. He was recently voted boss of the year in The Tribune-Star poll of bests in the area.

“We have 175 employees and are in about every state. We have partnerships and do hearings throughout the country. It was a treat to see the staff [today],” he said.

He will ride through 13 states on this trip. “We have a beautiful country . . . and great people,” said Newlin.

Tom-Cattin' It – John Packer of Princeton will play college basketball at Western Illinois. As a sophomore guard, he helped the Tigers win a Class 3A championship. He averaged 19.3 points, 8.4 assists and 4.7 rebounds last season.

• The Indianapolis Star recently had a nice write-up on Terre Haute native Jerry Chance, a graduate of Terre Haute Garfield who played football and basketball at the University of Louisville and taught and coached for 30 years.

• Quentin Merkel recently won his 900th high school baseball game at Evansville Memorial.

• Zac Niehaus of Northview has signed to play baseball at Olney Central. He hit .505 and drove in 44 runs as a junior, gaining all-state honorable-mention honors


Tom Reck may be contacted by telephone at (812) 232-3231, by email at or by mail at 4284 South 5th Street, Apt. 3, Terre Haute, IN 47802.