Proving once again that the baby boomer generation is not going to just sit down and grow old, , Peter Knoop, 57, of Kennett Square, is putting himself to the test with a solo 1,200-mile bike ride from Maryland to Homosassa, Fla.

Starting out on the Route 1 bridge over the Susquehanna River in Maryland, due to the high rising water from the treacherous weather, Knoop embarked on this personal voyage Monday afternoon with a simple plan.

"Take one mile at a time," he said. Complete with proper attire, a cell phone and a lengthy map consisting of bike routes and alternative trails that take him off the beaten path, Knoop was filled with anticipation as he rode off, despite the rain and wind.

Knoop was a former marathon runner, but his love of running changed one day as he walked into a second-hand shop and purchased a used 10-speed two years ago.

What started as a need for something new in his life quickly turned into a passion as he discovered how much distance he could cover.

Normally, an hour run for Knoop would land him 10 miles out; now, with a bike, he found himself 20 miles out. Now, Knoop was seeing more things, discovering alternative trails and bike routes, and finding this expression of his love of exercise and the outdoors easier on his knees.

From there, he invested in a new bike, equipment and clothing and started biking 20 miles a day four to five times a week.

Now, taking his desire to see the world via his bicycle seat, Knoop is using his two-week vacation from his job as crew chief of aircraft maintenance for American Airlines at Philadelphia International Airport, with the hopes of biking 127 miles a day.

Allowing himself to take small breaks during the day to grab something to eat and sleeping at local motels at night, , Knoop is estimating an arrival Wednesday in Homosassa, 10 days after his departure, where he plans to meet his mother, who lives in Florida. Homosassa is on Florida's Gulf Coast, between Clearwater and Tallahassee.

Trekking along the East Coast is not just something Knoop has wanted to do for a while; it's an opportunity to prepare his body for a bike ride to California this time next year. Knoop plans to take that trip to raise money for a charity he is currently undecided on.

How or unusual are long-distance bike excursions such as Knoop's?

Andy Lee, a spokesman for USA Cycling, a Colorado Springs group that promotes competitive biking, said trips such as Knoop's are "not uncommon."

But he added that no one really keeps track of them unless they're part of a competitive event or a fund-raiser for a charity. Solo bikers such as Knoop pedal on in relative anonymity.

As of last Wednesday night, Knoop was happy with his progress. He had ended the day in Fredericksburg, Va., 210 miles into his trip.

He was riding about 10 hours per day and he was tired and sore, he said.

To keep going, he eats a hearty dinner each night, soaks in a hot bath to remove the aches and the chill, which has yet to pass due to the continued rain, and sleeps for eight to nine hours a night. Before he goes to bed, he calls his wife of 35 years, Barbara, to tell her where he is and that he is all right.

Knoop is also finding a bit of an audience wherever he stops, which is something of a surprise for him.

"Everyone is really interested in what I'm doing," he said in a phone interview Wednesday night. "Whenever I stop for something to eat, or double-check my directions, people want to know how far I've come, why I'm doing this, and so on. One time I even had a small crowd gathered around me to hear about my journey."

Knoop also talked of hazards such as washed-out trails, unmarked routes, and the difficulty of making it through cities.

"This isn't as easy as I thought it would be," he said.

But he's not going to throw in the towel. Washed-out trails and badly marked bike routes are frustrating, but nothing could compare to the satisfaction he felt as he rode past the White House and the Lincoln Memorial, two of the many sites he has marked on his route.