Bob Lee plans to embark on the third and final leg of his perimeter bicycle travels — Ride for 3 Reasons — around the continental United States this fall to raise money for three charities.
Now 70 years old, Lee continues to inspire me to never stop riding a bicycle.
Current plans call for him to hop on his fully loaded bicycle in Vancouver, BC, and ride 3,000 miles down the West Coast to the Mexican border. It will complete a 12,000-mile perimeter ride that he started in 2001.
Along the way, the bicyclist from Barrington, Illinois, will be raising money for three charities — the American Cancer Society, the Les Turner ALS Foundation and Hospice and Palliative Care of Northern Illinois.
Every $1 donated results in $3 for charities supported by The Ride for 3 Reasons through matching grants from the Pacesetter Challenge.
Lee first bicycled cross-country from Jacksonville, Florida, to San Diego in 2001. In 2007, after recovering from colon cancer, he biked 6,500 miles from Jacksonville north to Bar Harbor, Maine, then west to Anacortes, Washington.
As in the past, Lee will be riding solo most of the way. He recently told the Barrington Courier-Review that he visits with patients and at hospices along his routes.
“When I start getting tired, I stop and talk to someone. When they give you their stories, they give you the pedal power to move on.”
Over the years, Lee has raised about $470,000 on his bike tours. Much of it, such as the Pacesetter matching grants, come from folks in his hometown. The rest comes from people he’s met on the road or those who donated after learning about his goal.
Lee told the newspaper that he gets his inspiration from Mitch Albom’s “Tuesdays With Morrie,” which tells about ALS advocate and sociology professor Morrie Schwartz. He’s also inspired by John Steinbeck’s “Travels With Charlie” and a book written by three hospice nurses entitled “Final Gifts.”
I wrote about Lee’s earlier ride in 2007 at “A cross-country bike tour blog that’s highly recommended.”
Lee will continue his blog from the road when he takes off in September.