Archive for the ‘Cycling’ Category

Boxes Of Love

November 4th, 2015

BOL1

As the story goes I was riding my bicycle across the US in 2014 as Cycle Cause to benefit Stop SAM when I got to meet some remarkable kids in Whitefish Bay, WI.

We had taken a couple rest days when I had the privilege to speak at a couple local schools, telling a story of perseverance and answering questions about what it was like to ride so many miles.

I had first learned about Boxes Of Love from my friend Brett but had no idea how amazing this event truly was. In 5 years these remarkable kids have raised over $160,000 for some great causes.

Fast forward a year later and that little talk about perseverance has resulted in a great partnership for the 2015 BOL event. This year’s bake sale will benefit Stop SAM and our current drive to send more packets to South Sudan.

When I heard the great news about Stop SAM being selected I jumped on a plane to go speak to these amazing kids again. It was great to share stories from the Cycle Cause trip and also share some stats about the work being done in South Sudan. To say I’m inspired by these kids is an understatement.

So how can you help?
1. Go to GIVEBOXESOFLOVE.com and order some tasty cookies which make great holiday gifts.
2. Or you can just make a donation at the same link.

BOL2

One year later.

September 30th, 2015

12042634_1010360222362165_6110871176307172948_n

September 27th of last year I finished the ride of my life, 4170 miles across America to provide hope for malnourished kids living in South Sudan.

One year later I’m still coming to grips with all the change that has happened as a result. I set out with the simple goal of helping some starving kids but really had no idea the ripple effects this would send through all the areas of my life. Effects that are both positive and difficult.

For the first few months of being back it was hard to even think about the trip. I truly needed a break. Needed to take some steps back and reflect. I also needed to reestablish some sort of normal for my family, whatever that means.

Now one year later I’ve started writing (again). I want to tell the stories that never got told on Instagram and Facebook. The stories of heartache and triumph. The stories that my kids and grandkids will read some day.

What I’m saying is that their will be a Cycle Cause book coming soon, hopefully completed by the end of 2015.

Xero story telling.

January 13th, 2015

Saw this again today. My friends at Xero did such a great job capturing our story when we passed through the San Francisco area. They also make, without exception, the best accounting software for small business. I used it for a couple years at Crossgrain before the trip and we’ve used it exclusively at Stop SAM since the beginning. Can’t imagine going back to the ‘other’ product.

2014 – adventure to remember.

January 2nd, 2015

IMG_5154

I don’t think the full scope of what we did in 2014 has set in yet…but it’s starting to. As I write stories from the road and review photos I’m reminded of just how amazing 2014 really was. I’m happy to home but part of me misses the road, the adventure, the riding every day.

Back in California now I’m wondering what comes next, in life, my career, the next adventure. After spending 2014 out on the edge It’s hard to go backwards and just settle for bland. Whatever is next I know my faith will carry me and my family will be their to support. Bring on 2015!

Riding bikes, saving lives.

September 27th, 2013

LukeRUTF

I just returned from a great trip to Atlanta. The main purpose was to meet up with my partner at StopSAM, Mike Levison. We spent some great time together discussing, goals, dreams, future plans and campaigns.

We also got to visit the MANA Nutrition factory in Fitzgerald, something I’ve been trying to do for the three years that I’ve been involved in the fight against Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM).

I wanted to see for myself how RUTF was made and deliver in person the donations from my recent birthday bike ride and BBQ. Special thanks to those who gave to the birthday campaign; because of you, we were able to raise over $2,000 – that’s 40 lifesaving treatments. Our bike riding together really did save lives.

LukeandRick

I also had a fun time with my dad who tagged along and organized all the travel (thanks, Dad). We visited five of Atlanta’s top BBQ joints, comparing their various meats and techniques. Maybe someday we will have a BBQ place that good in Orange County. Sigh. We also spent a few hours at the Georgia Aquarium, which I learned is the largest in the world. They actually have whale sharks in a tank, which is unbelievable to see.

Thank you, Atlanta, for a great trip. We’ll miss your smoked ribs, the Waffle House peach waffles and that famous Southern Hospitality. We won’t, however, miss your traffic, which I’m pretty sure is worse than LA. But I’ll be back soon.

Now back to work on changing the world and planning a big bike ride.

Taking a bike ride with Elvis.

August 20th, 2012

I had an amazing encounter  yesterday with a guy named Elvis while riding bike on PCH.

The story starts back in November of 2011 when I read a post on the Brooks Saddle blog  (Elvis Munis Takes the Long Road to Promote African Development). Inspired by what I read I connected with his page on Facebook and have been loosely following along.

Now I have to admit, I didn’t see anything in my stream for a long time so I sort of forgot about the trip. On Saturday morning however I noticed a picture on Facebook of Elvis standing near the Pacific. After further examination I realized that I had been in that exact spot near Carlsbad.  I realized their was a good chance he would be passing through OC on Sunday on his way north so I quickly left a comment. After some back and forth I made plans to ride out and meet him the next day somewhere on PCH.

That night I was sharing the story with my friend Ron who happened to be riding south from Dana Point the next morning. While waiting on PCH Sunday morning I got a call from Ron letting me know that he had found Elvis riding with a guy named James, they were making their way through Camp Pendelton together. I agreed to ride down to Dana Point to meetup with the pack (on Single Speed MASI 🙂

We met up and enjoyed a meal together in Dana Point. It was amazing listening to his stories about riding up through South America, about meeting cartel in Columbia and being warned about some of the dangers in Mexico. Also hearing about mechanical issues suffered in the middle of nowhere with no proper bike shop nearby.

I also enjoyed hearing more about his cause. His goal is to raise enough money to send 10 Tanzanians to college to learn about conservation. He went on to talk about the importance of conservation in Tanzania, how the country relies so heavily on safari tourism which I had never really thought much about. I believe in conservation sure but I never really put it together with prosperity the of a nation. Makes complete sense that if one of their biggest industries is tourism that they need to educate future generations on the importance of conservation.

After our brunch I got to lay down some miles with Elvis riding with he and James up to Seal Beach. It was great to see so many other cyclist ride up and chat with him about his trip. He was always ready to hand out a small card with the URL and very gracious.

At a gas station near Seal Beach we said our goodbyes. I ended up putting in 75 miles on the single speed in the heat but as Elvis said “this heat feels like vacation compared to riding from Yuma” which he had done just a few days prior.

His 2 year journey will cover 28,000 miles and 47 countries. WOW

You can read more about Elvis or contribute: Chiletokili.com.

Riding to forget.

August 18th, 2012

The best part of the Olympics for me are the stories of diversity and hearing what people overcome to get to, in this case, the London games. Adrien Niyonshuti of Rwanda is a great example of an amazing but tragic story. He was just 7 years old when the Rwanda Genocide happened, he lost many of his family including six brothers.

I had the privilege of attending a private screening of “Rising From Ashes” in Ladera Ranch a few months back. This movie tells the story of how Adrien went from surviving the genocide to participating as a mountain bike rider in the 2012 London games.

Their is a great mountain bike event each year here in Orange County called 50 Mile Ride which raises money for Project Rwanda (some of which benefits the Rwanda Cycling team).

Below are some links if you want to read his full story. Amazing.

A Long, Amazing Ride to the Olympics – WSJ

FROM RWANDA TO LONDON, WITH A BICYCLE – The New Yorker

(Photo from Getty Images) I also posted this over at RoadBikeOC

Road Bike OC

May 5th, 2012

I recently helped a local bike shop launch a new blog and brand called RBOC or ROADBikeOC.

“Meeting at the intersection of cycling culture and Orange County, ROADBikeOC celebrates a special lifestyle, and supports the roadies who live it all year long.”

In addition to coming up with the brand name and designing the site I will also be writing some posts. Fun project, hopefully it will go far.

For Roberto

December 1st, 2011


The timing of the Turkey Takeoff challenge just didn’t feel right when I first read about it. You see, my cycling miles had dramatically decreased after I lost my dear friend Roberto to a bike crash on November 5th. He and a handful of other friends were on the Rapha Gentleman’s ride in Santa Monica when he crashed. I didn’t make it that day because of my son’s soccer game, but also because I was a bit intimidated by the amount of climbing in such a short ride. I’m what they call a “flat lander,” and even though I’ve lost over 80lbs cycling these last two years, I’m still a big guy at 225lbs – too big to be chasing more experienced, lighter riders up canyon roads.


On November 13th, I participated in his memorial ride and was so touched when Rapha gave everyone a cycling cap with ROBERTO embroidered on the side. I also received a matching Rapha jersey with ROBERTO on the sleeve. These jerseys were given to a few of his core riding friends, and I’m honored to be in the core group of Myrtle Street Boys. So, despite the category 1 climb, I put on the polka dot jersey Roberto had given me for my birthday and headed up the hill to honor a friend. It was one the hardest climbs I’ve ever done, but also one of the most amazing.

After that memorial ride, I felt like I needed a break and wanted to take some time off the bike. The death of someone close has an amazing way of making you think. I started thinking about my wife, my two kids, all my friends, and what would happen had that been me on the morning of November 5th? As much as I love cycling, and as much as cycling has changed my life, was it worth the risk we face when we put on those cleated shoes? So, you see, the timing of this Turkey Takeoff just didn’t feel right. Or did it?

Roberto loved Rapha; as a brand copywriter, he got what the company was about. It’s not just about clothing, but about a sense of belonging – a belonging to a community of riders around the world, a community of strangers who would show up at a memorial ride despite not ever meeting the person they were honoring. He understand that we love “our” brands because of the way they make us feel.

It was in that community spirit that I decided to participate in the Rapha Turkey Takeoff. After all, it’s what Roberto would have done. Going into it, I didn’t have any delusions of finishing since I wasn’t riding that much. But I thought maybe, with a couple local rides under my wheels, I could increase the miles and make a good dent in that 9,000 calories. I could at least offset my Thanksgiving day meal.

I started with a small ride on Wednesday, a good 65 miles on Thursday followed by a meal with family and a nap, and then up early for another 42 on Friday. The momentum was building. I had thrown out the idea that a group of us should do the 100-mile ride south to San Diego and take the train back on Saturday, but didn’t really get any takers. I didn’t really want to ride solo so I figured my Turkey Takeoff quest was over.

On Friday afternoon, I attended a memorial at one of Roberto’s favorite restaurants. We all gathered for a meal and to hear words from his family and friends, and just to be together. I felt like I had said goodbye already on the memorial ride. I had let all the tears flow that day on the climb up Los Flores. This memorial dinner felt different, though. It seemed that some of us had moved past the shock of it all and began celebrating his life. We enjoyed the Vietnamese cuisine that he so loved and talked about all the great times we had with Roberto. It was a true celebration of who he was, and it was an event that he would have enjoyed attending.

I still wasn’t getting any takers on a trip to San Diego, but it was at that memorial dinner where I realized the timing of the Turkey Takeoff couldn’t have been any better. It was getting me back on the bike, and riding was exactly what I needed to do. It was helping me mourn the loss of my friend, helping me reflect, helping me move forward.

And so, Saturday morning, I put on my Rapha ROBERTO jersey and headed south for one of the most epic days of riding I’ve had in a long time. I didn’t care that I was riding solo. In fact, I think I enjoyed the ride more. It was just me, my thoughts, my breath and the spin of the pedals. I savored every single mile. And the Amtrak ride back was great – watching the sunset, drinking a beer, feeling hungry from the lack of calories. Roberto, our friends and I had taken this train back together many times (except that one time when Roberto and Ron got tossed from the train, but that’s another story for another day).

Once home, I consumed a Haven burger as I had done with Roberto many times after rides. Then, Sunday morning, I connected with my Sunday group for my final miles and, just like that, I feel like I’m back in the riding routine. And, although I have a brand new respect for the road and for the dangers of it all, I’m not ready to hang up the bike just yet.

I did the Turkey Takeoff for Roberto. And, I did it for me and for the friends he left behind. As he would say, after we enjoyed Vietnamese food and massages, “Let the healing begin.”