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Tom O’Brien’s Coast-to-Coast Bicycle Ride

As many of you know, I’m passionate about giving back to our nation’s service members – the many brave men and women who fight to protect the freedom of this great country. Often these inspiring individuals return home with wounds you can and can’t see, like a missing limb, combat stress, or depression. Because they’ve risked everything for us, I’m committed to raising awareness and funds for these wounded service members and their caregivers, through a bicycle ride across the country.

My first attempt at a long-distance cycling ride didn’t prove to be successful, but like the courage of our military members, I didn’t let that first defeat stop me. Growing up in Texas my parents moved to New Orleans in the early seventies. After graduating from Archbishop Rummel High School (Class of 71) I received a 10-speed bicycle as a graduation gift.  I decided to ride that new bicycle from New Orleans to Dallas, more than 500 miles, to visit my old friends back home. After training all summer, I set out in August of 1971 from New Orleans making it all the way to Alexandria, LA when the intense pain began to set in. The more I pedaled the more pain I felt in my right knee joint. I realized the bicycle was too small for my lanky 6’ 3” body. The pain in my right knee was so intense that I couldn’t pedal any further. I hitched a ride with a farmer back to Monroe, LA where I shipped my bike back to New Orleans and bought a plane ticket to Dallas to meet up with my friends. The bike ride was a bust and I am sure people wondered how any human could be so dirty and smelly and ride in an airplane (I used my remaining cash for the plane ticket). I landed in Dallas broke and totally gross, but my buddies were there to rescue me.

Fast forward to 2005, when an idea hit me while telling my 4-year-old daughter bedtime stories. I was telling her how frustrated I was for not successfully completing the New Orleans to Dallas bicycle ride. Then I decided I would right that wrong all those years ago by attempting a cycling trip even farther than the failed New Orleans ride. I decided to ride from Dallas to San Diego, California. Accomplishing this ride would be almost three times as far and I would finally have the monkey off my back for that failed ride all those years ago.  

Except, I hadn’t been on a bicycle in decades! I didn’t know if I would even enjoy cycling, let alone be able to make such a long journey. Undeterred, I bought a used Schwinn, aluminum-frame road bike to see if I could stand riding after so many years. I bought special cycling shoes that clip onto the bike and began riding on a local paved bike trail. After some soreness and a few crashes, I decided I could handle the concept. I trained for several months to get in shape, and I even bought a second bicycle (a yellow US Postal Road Bike made by Trek) like those used in the Tour de France. The old Schwinn became my backup bike if there was a breakdown or a flat on the way – and there were plenty of flats!

I asked a friend to follow me in a car and shield me from traffic as I made the journey from Dallas to San Diego. At first, he thought I was kidding and jokingly agreed. When he realized how serious I was, he kept his word and I left Dallas on my bike with a car following me all the way to San Diego at 12 mph. I also wanted to use this ride to raise some money in support of a great cause, which is when I first discovered the Wounded Warrior Project. The freedom we have enjoyed in this country is second to none and I felt this small gesture would be a way to show my appreciation for the sacrifice so many have made serving our country. After three weeks of riding, with my buddy following behind me, I arrived in San Diego on Halloween 2005. The monkey was off my back from that failed bike ride all those years ago and so was about 20 pounds of body weight!

13 years later, I am still riding bicycles and the urge to attempt a new challenge is upon me! This time in early September 2018, I will be riding from San Diego to Sea Island, Georgia. I never thought a bicycle ride 47 years ago would motivate me in so many ways. If someone told me back in those days that I, Tom O’Brien, would be attempting a coast to coast bike ride at my age, I would have questioned their sanity. Just like the times before me, I will have a vehicle following me the entire way. And the company I have been running for the past 25 years, Eclipse, will donate two dollars for every mile I complete to the Wounded Warrior Project. I will be posting periodic updates on the Eclipsemed.com website for everyone to follow my journey. I invite you to join my effort and give what you can by donating through my page. Click the donate button and enter the amount you’re able to give. Wounded Warrior Project is such a great cause and it helps so many families and soldiers that have made great sacrifices for our freedoms. I appreciate your support and prayers for a safe and successful journey. Thanks to all that can help and to our loyal Eclipse customers. To the Journey!

Total Raised

$13,863.50

Funded: 69.32%
Donors
John Tepper
$122.00
17 days ago
Anna Barber
$100.00
23 days ago
Mark and Ellen Lampert
$300.00
25 days ago
Garrett Heilbrun Technology Partners, LLC
$3,300.00
28 days ago
Jennifer Halm
$100.00
29 days ago
Uncle Edward
$100.00
31 days ago
EXPERT I.T. GUYS
$150.00
32 days ago
Del Mar Technologies
$250.00
36 days ago
HANUMAN MEDICAL
$500.00
37 days ago
Mark DuVal
$150.00
37 days ago
Kelly C. Torres
$25.00
42 days ago
AFFIRM Science - Judson Brandeis
$300.00
43 days ago
justin batra
$100.00
43 days ago
Chris Layton
$500.00
44 days ago
Parchman Family
$100.00
45 days ago
Elliot Entis
$200.00
45 days ago
Aaron Esteron
$200.00
48 days ago
Anonymous
$100.00
49 days ago
Anonymous
$100.00
49 days ago
Anom305
$200.00
49 days ago
Anonymous
$250.00
49 days ago
Salient Medical Solutions Inc.
$100.00
50 days ago
Steve Dayan
$500.00
50 days ago
Ashley & Hunter McGuire
$75.00
50 days ago
Trey and Cinnamon Dyson
$150.00
50 days ago
Lyndsey Fontenot
$50.00
50 days ago
John OHanesian
$200.00
54 days ago
GatherRound
$200.00
55 days ago
Nikhil Heble
$241.50
57 days ago
Will Schubert
$100.00
57 days ago
Anonymous
$500.00
57 days ago
Vince and Jodi Bianchi
$200.00
58 days ago
Peter Marchese
$250.00
60 days ago
Ryan Hewitt
$100.00
63 days ago
Thomas Goslau
$200.00
63 days ago
Bob Wilber
$250.00
64 days ago
DJ Shooter
$125.00
64 days ago
Jim & Kris from AccuView
$100.00
64 days ago
Arbella and John
$250.00
65 days ago
Weston Pettersen
$100.00
65 days ago
Anonymous
$500.00
65 days ago
Sanjay Batra
$500.00
66 days ago
WILLIAM LIANG
$300.00
66 days ago
Promontory Foundation
$500.00
66 days ago
Jamal Yanaki
$200.00
66 days ago
John Godson
$125.00
66 days ago
Anonymous
$100.00
66 days ago
Anonymous
$100.00
67 days ago
Kevin O'Brien
$500.00
68 days ago
Allison Kelly
$100.00
69 days ago
Wayne Lura
$100.00
71 days ago
Event

Coast To Coast Bicycle Ride

PS Athletic Fundraiser
From:9/4/2018
To:10/15/2018
Location: EclipseMedCorp LLC