Luling native plans 725-mile bike ride for tsunami victims
Having little biking experience won't keep him from adventure
Chad Robin gears up for a bike trek that will take him across three states. He is raising money for tsunami victims.
But when the earthquake and subsequent tsunami struck Japan, Robin’s adventure gained new meaning. Now, the 21-year-old meteorology major is hoping to make a difference with his “Ride 4 Relief” campaign.
Robin’s idea first took shape when he received an internship at the National Severe Storms Laboratory in Norman, Okla. this summer. With a month between the end of school at Florida State and the start of the internship, he wanted to have an adventure before buckling down for 10 weeks.
“That’s when I decided to not ride in a car, but on a bike to get there,” he said. “Then I started to look up past cross-country rides through blog posts and websites to start my own planning.”
But it wasn’t until after the Japanese tsunami on March 11 that he realized his “adventure” had gained a newfound purpose.
“From that point on it’s been my goal to turn this into a successful charity event to help rebuild the lives of the Japanese tsunami victims,” Robin said.
Now, Robin has a website where people can donate to his cause. There is also an option to pledge to donate a certain amount of money per mile that he rides. The Web site is www.ride4relief.com. He is paying all of the cost of the trip, estimated to be $1,000, out of his own pocket.
“That way all the money I raise will go to the tsunami victims,” he said.
Before Robin had decided on his long bike trek, he wasn’t an avid cyclist.
“When I got my first road bike just a few months ago, I didn’t even know how to shift gears,” he said.
But Robin ran on the cross country and track teams in high school and has continued to run for fun in college.
“Sports that require a lot of endurance have always been interesting to me,” he said. “Pushing yourself to limits that you didn’t even know existed is what draws me to do this ‘Ride 4 Relief.’
“Regardless of my lack of biking experience, I was excited and motivated enough to start training.”
To prepare for his 725-mile ride, Robin has been riding every weekend, going on bike treks ranging from 50 to 80 miles once or twice a week. When he is out of school for the summer, Robin plans to increase the amount of miles he rides to get used to the daily rides that he will be doing in his trip.
He will begin his trek on May 15 in Luling and will head to Plaquemine, Opelousas, Alexandria, Natchitoches, Shreveport, Texarkana, Paris, Texas, Denison, Texas and Ardmore, Okla. before ending in Norman, Okla. He picked the route because it stays along the most inhabited areas, while also getting him to his internship the fastest.
Robin plans to stay in a hotel or motel in every city along his route, but has also received offers on his website from people who have invited him to stay with them. Bed and breakfast inns have also been high on his list.
“I wanted to do this so that I could support some of the local businesses along my way,” he said. “I also figured that I could get a real experience of the city that I was staying in by staying with a local business owner.”
Robin hopes that he will be able to raise $5,000 through his ride fundraiser.
“I’ve realized that the kindness and support of my family and friends is limitless,” he said. “I’ve also realized that through support from others and by putting time into publicizing and planning the event, it has a lot of potential to raise money.”
And Robin said any amount of money will seriously help those that have suffered because of the tsunami.
“The Japanese people have been beaten down both physically and mentally, but our support can help,” he said. “As a side note, the Japanese Red Cross donated $30 million to help with the Hurricane Katrina relief effort in 2005, so this is even more of a reason for us to show that we support our fellow countries through giving back in time of need.”
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