Damon Guinn via Crowdrise
August 12, 2014
BENEFITING: MINDDRIVE, Inc.
EVENT DATE: Aug 16, 2014
Mileage Tracker: 2,255
2,200 miles, 48,000 feet, 8 states, 3 timezones and 2 wheels ... in 30 days.
That's the challenge I set for myself on my first long-distance bike tour from Portland, Oregon, to Kansas City, Missouri. I'll cover virtually the same distance as the Tour de France pros in nearly the same timespan, but with no domestiques, no professional mechanics, no daily blood infusions nor the aerodynamic benefits that come with a fleet of 15-pound bikes. Instead, I'll be pushing 60 pounds of 631 steel and assorted cargo up winding mountain passes alongside cranky RV drivers and "Don't Tread on Me" dualies! I'll be fending off family withdrawals, ferocious thunderstorms and feral wildlife as I sleep under the stars and poop in the woods. Sounds fun, huh?
What better way to spend the last remaining month of my unemployment before starting grad school than by racing the clock against Mother Nature and my midlife crisis? But it's more than escaping a few gray hairs or searching for a cure to a case of wanderlust -- it's a mission to raise support for Minddrive, a Kansas City-based nonprofit that teaches at-risk youth real-life skills so they can envision and realize potential beyond the confines of their inner-city neighborhoods.
Minddrive teaches youth life skills and technical trades through STEM education and one-to-one mentoring. The youth are amazing, too! They've broken free from gangs, overcome addiction, struggled to raise siblings and salvaged the pieces of broken families. Now they're learning how to design and build electric cars with the goal of promoting sustainable development and gaining practical, employable skills such as welding, electrical, solar and automotive engineering, 3D CAD design and communications arts. Pretty cool stuff.
My goal is to raise $10,000 for Minddrive’s latest student-led initiative – the Electrathon project. The students will design and build simple, highly efficient three-wheeled electric cars for approximately $2,500 each and then enter the cars in a national contest. The team whose car drives the longest distance in a set time on limited power wins.
Like me, these youth are at a crossroads in life ... they're searching for a new direction. They're striving for a better education but experience countless setbacks. They're struggling to flee a cycle of poverty but don't have a clear path out. They're longing for jobs that will give their lives meaning and purpose but need skills and resources to pursue their goals.
You and I can give them a hand ... by raising our own. By making a tax-deductible donation, you and I can join Minddrive's Raise Your Hand campaign and guide youth down the path to progress -- one that is better for them, our society and the world at large.
I'm riding halfway across the country because I love cycling. I love the beauty and grandeur of this country, and I love the idea of chasing down a dream. I may not know where I'm headed in my own life right now, but I'm determined to push forward and tap into every last bit of energy I have to help chart a better course for others.
Your support and encouragement will propel me every mile of the way. Together, we will reach our full cycle and keep Minddrive's students moving in the right direction.
You can follow my progress and picadillos on www.supergreengoridesagain.com. I'll post regular updates, photos and videos about the adventure whenever I'm not running from rednecks, ringworms and bears, oh my!
And, if you feel like helping me out along the way (by replacing broken bike parts, covering the cost of emergency transportation or picking up my tab for carbohydrate-rich beer -- not tax-deductible!), shoot me an email. (I should be able to get WiFi in prison ... right?)
Thanks, and happy trails!
SPECIAL SHOUT-OUTS TO...
Paula Guinn - my beautiful, kind martyr wife who's graciously holding down the fort and bankrolling my personal expenses while I go cavort with nature and semis.
Scott Cotter - my brother from another mother who shot the beautiful footage in the video and then coached me through the editing process while feeding me beer.
Brad Davis - a guy I spend a lot of time trailing on a bike who donated a set of brakes for my adventure. Brakes + mountains = intact cranium.
Bruce Coffman - another riding companion with great taste in music and plenty of points on Southwest which are covering my flight to Portland.
Richard Renner, Mike and Colin Huffer, Howard Berkowitz, Mike Tate, Andy Tann and all my other cycling friends who've shown me that life is about the journey, not the destination.