By Jodi Rawson
Meeting Jeff Brath at Evans was a treat because neither one of us was in a hurry. Brath calls New Jersey home half the year, working in carpentry, dabbling in college for classical music (he plays upright and electric bass). The other half of the year he lives on his bike.
“I am the luckiest guy I know,” he said. “As long as I don’t have kids or develop an addiction I can go anywhere.”
Only 23, Brath still gives off an “old soul” sort of vibe. He is touring with 19 members of a fundraising group for MS. The organization is called Bike the US for MS and is raising $300,000 this year, with Brath’s group alone contributing $90,000.
Brath raised all his own funds and had to commit to a dollar a mile in donations. He is doing a counter-clockwise loop from Florida to Florida-a total of 11,000 miles. Brath said it gives him purpose to cycle for those who cannot.
For now Brath is living for adventure and raising money enough to keep going. He loved our town and said there were good people everywhere.
There are other charity bike groups that land in town and bathe in our lake. They give me a vicarious travel experience that makes me feel connected and larger, and they add culture to our historic town. It also makes me feel lucky to live in a place that these travelers wouldn’t mind slowing down and lingering for a while. They make me a little envious, but then again, I have no reason to leave the best place on earth.
Special thanks to the First Presbyterian Church and Ivano’s for housing and feeding this last wave of bike travelers.
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