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Father-daughter duo break record with epic bike ride cross-country

The pair was inspired to set off on the bike ride after a family friend lost their battle to cancer.
/ Source: TODAY

When Randy Oleynik began riding antique high-wheel bicycles, he never imagined his daughter, Amy, would one day join him in the adventure of a lifetime.

"I started riding high wheels back in 1991, when I was asked to join a high wheel bicycle band that was being formed for the Great American Brass Band Festival in Danville, Kentucky," Randy Oleynik told TODAY’s Craig Melvin in the latest episode of the digital series, "Dads Got This."

Soon after he began riding, Randy and his family joined the Wheelman Organization, a group that collects, restores, and shows antique bicycles. Members of the organization dress in historical costumes while they ride.

"My daughter wanted to ride with the Wheelmen, but the girls all had to wear dresses," Randy explained, adding that Amy did not want anything to do with the dresses. "So she said, 'Dad, get me some knickers, I'm learning to ride a high wheel.'"

The rest is history. The pair have since ridden over 6,100 miles together.

The death of a family friend from colon cancer inspired the father-daughter duo to complete a record-breaking journey together across the country on their bikes.

"Soon as he passed away, that was the straw that said, 'We're going because you just don't know,"" Randy told Melvin. "Ray rode on the back of my bike as a guardian angel all the way across the country, and looked over us."

It was about more than breaking a record – it was the bonding experience for Randy and Amy Oleynik.dad-bikers-khu-210823.jpg

Randy and Amy's journey started in San Francisco, California and ended in Boston, Massachusetts, covering 3,314 miles in 57 days.

"Amy was attempting to be the first woman to ride across," Randy explained, adding that another Wheelman member had started the cross-country trip several months prior. "So I started thinking, 'Oh, I enjoyed the trip so much, I'm going North to South.' And I told Amy...No woman has done both. So you're number two there, but if you do this you will be the first woman."

Without hesitation, Amy agreed. The pair began in Sault Ste Marie, Michigan and continued all the way down into Florida.

"When you're out riding for hours, you want to talk about something," Amy Oleynik said. "I would try and ask my dad about his past because, as a kid, you don't ask your parents about those things."

Amy said she enjoyed sharing the experience with her dad.

"It's nice to have something in common with your parents," she said. "Just having an activity to do together is very bonding."

For Randy, the feat felt emotional.

"It wasn't 'til after that it really dawned on me how special the time was," he shared. "You're trying to get across the country and everything, but after the fact, when someone comes and says, 'That's the greatest thing you did with your daughter,' and you're thinking, like, yeah, it really was."

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