It’s an inspirational story for baby boomers and older folks, or anyone who wants to challenge themselves to do something for others. Two men in their seventies have made a remarkable trip to Tybee Island, Georgia. While that may not be news, the fact they got here on two wheels over more than two months is. It started in California as a fundraiser for Habitat for Humanity and ended on the beach on the Georgia Coast with a positive message in-tow: you are only as old as you feel. This Pacific to Atlantic odyssey is remarkable because both riders were born at the dawn of World War II. Len Holmes and Bob Frick say cycling is the what brought them together. Frick says he read about Holmes making a distance ride and reached out with an idea. The first was to ride the Louis and Clark trail two years ago. Frick says at the end of that trip, he came up with a plan to use cycling to raise money for Habitat for Humanity. Frick recalls approaching Holmes. “I said I go another idea, how about from here to Atlanta, which is where Habitat is headquartered and if you’re in Atlanta, you’re almost to the ocean and so we just keep on going to the ocean…OK Len? How about it? And here we are,” said Frick.
Cycling to the Coastal Empire is no ride in the park. It’s a grueling 3,400 mile journey. “When you ride ride a bicycle through the heartland of the U.S., you see things that you can’s see in an airplane. You see things that you can’t see in a car,” Holmes said. Frick adds that age is a concern, but says the real foundation for their ability to make the cross country ride is healthy lifestyles and blessings. “We feel fortunate at our age, 78 and uh, 73, that we can do this.” The pair of retired riders concede that motivating their peers was a secondary motive to raising money and awareness for Habitat for Humanities. They hope people their age hear of their feat. ” I hope it’s a type of inspiration to other people in their 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, 90’s, whatever it may be, that, ah, because you’re 78 doesn’t mean you’re dead,” Frick said. It’s a sentiment echoed by Holmes. “If we can take a ride like this and share with people how somebody can do it themselves, we like to do that and really it’s a question of deciding in your mind that you want to do something then making the commitments, setting the goals to do it,” said Holmes. Attitude and state-of-mind are the keys to starting and finishing anything Frick says with a smile. “I hope we’re an inspiration of sorts to um…. I..I’m not old, I’m advanced middle aged.”
The amazing ride by Holmes and Frick has touched hundreds of people from California to New York. Their 74 day ride has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars, topping more than $250,000 dollars by the time they reached North Beach on Tybee Island. Both say they whole heartedly believe in the mission of Habitat for Humanity, to help deserving families become homeowners through sweat equity and education to keep the home. The pair rode into Savannah and participated in a ceremonial ribbon-cutting at the new ReStore location on Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard before making the last leg of their journey to Tybee last Wednesday.