PAW PAW, Mich. — Mark Linder of Paw Paw is taking a 2,492-mile vacation trip out to the West Coast – and he’s planning to pedal every mile of it. It’s a fundraising jaunt to support a couple of organizations that support kids with cancer: Plainwell-based DC Strong, and CureSearch.
Linder, 44, is riding a bicycle from one end of the famous Route 66 to the other. He takes off from downtown Chicago on Friday, June 15th, and he hopes to arrive in Santa Monica, California “on or about” July 20th. That’s between 80 and 120 miles per day, for those of you keeping score at home. He’ll be pedaling a Cyclocross Kona-brand, jake-style bicycle – similar to a 10-speed, but with more gears.
His goal? To raise $24,920, which is $10 per mile.
“My son, Kevin, was diagnosed with cancer when he was two,” Linder tells FOX 17. “He passed away in 2013, at age 6. He fought cancer for 3-1/2 years, and during that time, we met just a ton of fantastic people and organizatons. One of them was DC Strong, a pediatric cancer-support group. It was essentially started by high school students supporting a classmate who fought cancer five different times throughout his life. And my son, Kevin, was one of the first that they helped.
“We did a Kevin’s Day on a Saturday, and he passed away the following Tuesday. It was awesome, because it was one of the last times we got to see Kevin smile.”
Linder plans to ride the 2,492 miles by himself, but says his mother-in-law will be driving a fifth-wheel camper along the way, providing him with a place to sleep. The Route 66 trip will take him through Illinois, Missouri, Oklahoma,Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona, before ending in California.
Linder, who originally is from Vancouver, Canada, says he and his mother-in-law will be posting updates on the trip website . “I’ve just got two water bottles on my bike. And I’m hoping to stop in every town and gas station (to refresh). I’ve got a cycling app that I use on my phone that keeps track of how far I’ve gone, the pace and stuff.”
After completing the Route 66 jaunt, Linder says, “My family (including wife Kelly) and I will drive up the Pacific Coast Highway to the Redwood Forest in northern California. And then, we’ll drive to Boise, Idaho to see my sister, Tina Williams, and then my two daughters. Then I’ll fly back to Michigan.
“I’m hoping for good weather, obviously.”