By Catherine Hunter
Buster Brown of Asheville is getting ready to spend 53 days on a bicycle for charity. Brown plans to ride from San Diego, Calif. to St. Augustine, Fla. in hopes of raising money for four Asheville charities. Brown describes the charities which include Sisters of Mercy Urgent Care, Arts for Life, Asheville Pregnancy Support Service and Sports Outreach, a ministry for high school and college athletes, as “For Life” organizations. He said the ride itself will help promote the charities by simply getting the word out. He is also asking for sponsors to pledge an amount per mile that he rides.
“These are great charities with great values,” said Brown. “It’s an honor to ride for them.” The ride will be a total of 3200 miles and will take a total of 62 days which includes nine days of rest and 53 days on the bike. Brown will ride with 14 other cyclist as part of a Venture Cycling Association ride. He describes the ride as “fully self-supported” meaning they will carry everything they need on the bicycles with no support vehicles. The bikers are from across the US and England. Brown was surprised to discover one participant is Brevard resident, Ed Carroll who is riding to raise money to help Hattie. Brown said he was inspired to take the ride across the country years ago when he met a man in his 60’s on a Vermont bicycle tour who had recently completed a cross- country ride. Brown said he decided then and there he wanted to try it too. “It’s kind of been on my bucket list,” said Brown, who is himself, 61 years old and completed week long tours of Vermont, Montana and Utah. He added that other reasons for taking on the ride include the physical challenge, seeing the country, meeting other people and the simplicity of being on two wheels peddling everyday. “It’s healthy in every way,” he said. Brown has been riding his bike 20 to 40 miles a day five to six days a week and working out in the gym to prepare for the ride. Some of the challenges he anticipates include climbing the Rocky Mountains with an extra 20 pound pack on the bike and the weather going through the desert. “We’ll be going from zero elevation [in San Diego] to 8,000 feet [in the Rockies],” he said. Brown also wanted to thank Craig Friedrich of Ski Country Sports in Asheville for providing the bicycle for the ride. Ski Country Sports will ship the bike to San Diego where Brown will begin the ride on September 15 and, providing all goes as planned, arrive in St. Augustine on November 18. He will post updates on his facebook page, Buster’s Bike for Life, and will be sending email updates to anyone who joins his email list. Anyone interested in pledging or donating can check the facebook page or go to the charities’ web sites, Sisters of Mercy Urgent Care – somsc.org/mercy, Arts for Life – aflnc.org, Asheville Pregnancy Support Service – myapss.com, Sports Outreach – sportsoutreachnc.org.