Bakers bike messages into Fort Madison streets

Joshua Baker, right, stops for lunch with his mom Nicole during a bike ride Monday. The two have been cycling in paths spelling out words through Fort Madison streets on their Samsung tracking app. Courtesy photo.


FORT MADISON – A surprise visit turned into a creative morning for a Fort Madison family and their friend.

Nicole Baker, of Fort Madison, and her son Joshua are taking advantage of a Samsung app to put a little flare into several days worth of bike rides in Fort Madison.

Joshua, is a enlistee of the Iowa Army National Guard and will be in self-quarantine for two weeks before heading to training on May 20. So he decided to surprise his mom with a short stay in Fort Madison this weekend.

Baker said her son surprised her with a call that he would be coming into town for the week from Clinton. Joshua is a senior this year and without their being graduation ceremony and all his current schooling being on done, he thought he would spend the last week with his mom before Guard training begins.

“It made my day,” Nicole Baker said. “He was in town in March before the shutdown, and then with Clinton being on the other side of all the hot spots in eastern Iowa, we thought it wouldn’t be a good idea for him to drive down.”

But when she heard he was going to make the trip down, she told him to bring his bicycle.

Nicole had suffered injuries from an auto accident several years ago and said bicycling wasn’t in the works right away, but after some chiropractic therapy her injuries don’t limit her anymore.

So on Saturday, the two mapped out a path on their Samsung app that spelled “Corona” out of streets and avenues from Oak Drive east to 4th Street.

Baker said she wanted to do “I am bored”, but her son quickly marked off a map that would spell out the word ‘Corona’. The ride was just over 13 miles and took about an hour and a half.

But that wasn’t the end of the bicycle puzzlings as on Sunday they went 17 miles and spelled out GO ARMY.

Baker is on reduced work due to the pandemic. She’s a TSA agent at Southeast Iowa Regional Airport in Burlington.

“I showed him the mapping app and he went to town,” she said.

A school friend of Joshua’s, Noe Trejo made the trip with the two on Saturday.

On Monday, in homage to all Star Wars fans, the two pedaled out ‘May the 4th be with you’.

Baker said biking is something she’s always enjoyed and taught her children to enjoy as well.

“I didn’t know if we do something every day all week, but I thought I’d take him on some 25 mile rides,” Baker said. “We may take a break on Wednesday, but I think we’ll do something for Cinco De Mayo and then probably a Mother’s Day message.”

She said the pandemic and staying home has been tough, but she’s been trying to get out and exercise daily.

“It’s been tough. I was doing a little bit of exercise before. But my work situation turned out that I’m not working much so I’ve tried getting back out for walks or bike rides every day and doing some home exercise to keep moving,” she said.

“With it just being me in my apartment, it’s a bit lonely.”

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