He’s been planning his 2,000 mile bike ride for the past two-and-a-half years, and 70-year-old Barrington cyclist and cancer survivor, Bob Lee, says he’s finally ready to go! Bob set his departure date for one week from today, next Wednesday, September 5th, when he’ll fly to Vancouver. On Thursday, he’ll get on his bike in the center of the city, and pedal his way down the west coast for the next six to eight weeks, ending in Mexico. But Bob’s mission is much bigger than a bike ride. He hopes to raise $1,000,000 in the process to fund research for Cancer, ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) and Hospice end-of-life care. We’re all invited to join Bob and his community of supporters at a send-off party this Sunday, September 2nd.
Bob’s latest journey will be the third in a personal series of long distance rides, crossing a total of more than 12,000 miles and completing a philanthropic tour around the perimeter of the country to support these three focus charities, which are Bob’s “3 Reasons” for his ride.
Bob says he’s mapped out his route and plans to meet up with supporters along the way, including an ALS patient close to the route and a friend who just lost his wife to cancer. “When I visit with people and they tell me about their experience with these causes, that just energizes me to know that I’m on the right track.”
Bob’s Send-off celebration starts at 4 p.m. this Sunday, September 2nd, with a group ride from Station Middle School to Wool Street Grill & Sports Bar in Barrington. We’re all invited to join the ride and the party at Wool Street where there will be ice cream sundaes for everyone. Here’s the itinerary for Sunday followed by a few quick thoughts from Bob about his upcoming ride…
Bob Lee Send-off Celebration – Sunday, September 2nd
4 p.m. – Bikers of all ages from around Barrington will meet with their bikes at Station Middle School to join Bob for a ceremonial group ride to Wool Street Grill and Sports Bar in Barrington. If you want to watch the group ride, you’ll find them on the sidewalk going down Lake Cook Road to Northwest Highway to Klingenberg Lane.
4:30 p.m. – They’ll be taking a group photo and victory lap around the Metra station parking lot by Wool Street.
4:30 to 6:30 – You can visit with Bob, wish him well and sign the “Ride for 3 Reasons” banner.
5 p.m. to 6 p.m. – Enjoy a free ice cream sundae to celebrate Bob’s big ride.
11 a.m. to 9 p.m. – Dine-N-Share at Wool Street! Enjoy a meal with your family and 20% will go to Ride For 3 Reasons. (But you must mention Bob or the Ride to pass along the 20%)
Before this Sunday’s celebration, I wanted to catch up with Bob for an update on his fundraising and all of the work he’s put into this ride. Here are a few snippets from our conversation.
Liz: Soooo…how are you feeling now that your big ride is just days away?
Bob: I feel energized. I feel humbled. I wish I had more time to focus on the riding, but this is not necessarily about the ride. It’s about the fundraising. I feel like my body should hopefully do well on this, but you never know until you start.
Liz: Have you been paying close attention to the forecast? What are you expecting in terms of conditions when you’re out there on the road?
Bob: Historically, the temperatures on the west coast this time of year range between 50 and 80 degrees. Anne (Bob’s wife) told me it’s been in the 60’s lately, which is below normal. I’ve selected a time of year when the temperatures should be good, with the least amount of rainfall. It’s also after kids are back in school so there should be a little less traffic on the roads.
But it’s going to be a little more congested riding than I’ve experienced in previous rides. I’m going through some major metropolitan markets, through Los Angeles and San Francisco and Santa Barbara. I’ll be riding right along the water’s edge for parts of this trip.
Liz: You’ve put so much time and energy into the fundraising for this ride. Are you getting close to reaching your goal of $1,000,000 raised for your 3 Reasons?
Bob: We’re getting there. We’ve raised about $150,000 in general funds which has unlocked and additional $300,000 because our “pacesetter” donors have pledged two dollars for every one dollar raised. There’s still over $300,000 in pacesetter funds to use for matching. My goal is to raise $333,000 in general donations and have $666,000 in pacesetter funds to have a two-for-one all the way up to a million bucks all for these three causes. It’s going to be a challenge, but that’s what this should be about.
Liz: A challenge on many fronts! How many miles will you be riding each day, what will your schedule be like and how can we map your progress?
Bob: I’ll ride about 50+ miles per day and will be off the road by about 6 p.m. so I can talk to people and enter updates on my blog at 3Reasons.org. We’ve set up a GPS system so family will know exactly where I am and so we can add maps to the website. I’ll be taking a lot of pictures every day to share the beauty of our country and stories about people I encounter along the way because part of the ride is to share it with people.
Liz: When it comes to the physical side of your ride, I know it’s been ten years since you personally overcame cancer. Do you feel prepared, physically, to take on this challenge?
Bob: “I’m feeling ready. I’ve been to the dermatologist, the audiologist, the cardiologist, the dentist and I’m writing a blog post about having an MRI to be sure I haven’t lost my mind. I try to be as cautious and as sensitive to the physical challenges as possible, but I feel fortunate to be able to challenge myself to do something like this and have the energy of so many people behind me.
We’ll be sharing updates on Bob’s progress in the coming weeks right here at 365Barrington.com. To meet up with Bob and wish him luck, come on out to Sunday’s send-off celebration and CLICK HERE to read our first post about Bob’s ride.
If you want to make a donation and unlock more pacesetter funds, it’s easy to do so online at 3Reasons.org/donate.
All money Bob raises will be equally shared by the American Cancer Society, the ALS Les Turner Foundation and Hospice Foundation of Northeastern Illinois.