A man who previously rode a bicycle from Canada to Mexico is now riding from California to Florida in a fundraiser for the Firefighters Burn Institute.
John Beaver, a retired fire captain-paramedic from Shingle Springs, will begin his journey, dubbed the Hopes and Dreams Benefit Ride, in San Diego on March 9 by dipping the back wheel of his bike into the Pacific Ocean, a tradition. Over the course of 58 days, he will ride 3,108 miles to St. Augustine, Fla., where he will dip his front wheel in the Atlantic Ocean.
The ride will consist of 50 days of travel and eight days of rest, Beaver said. Unlike his trip in 2012, he will be traveling with a group of 14 other people — 12 total riders and two leaders. A van will carry any gear they do not need for that day’s travel, something Beaver is unaccustomed to. He has been riding for the past four years with 40 pounds of gear, including training, so this ride will be “unique” for him, he said. Otherwise, the group handles the logistics — when and where to stop and how long each day’s travel will be — and only allows rides in the van if a bike mechanically breaks or there is a medical problem.
Beaver noted that the highest elevation on the ride is 8,228 feet in Emory Pass, N.M., with other areas in that range at about 6,000 feet. New Mexico, he said, will mostly have a base of between 3,000 and 4,000 feet, about the same as Pollock Pines.
The shortest day will see only 35 miles traveled, while the longest are two days of 91 miles each. There are seven or eight days of between 80 and 90 miles, with an average between 50 and 70 miles. During his Canada-to-Mexico trip, he said, there were three days he rode more than 100 miles.
The group will mostly be camping, but Beaver said there will be a few days staying at churches, hostels and motels.
Weather is “the only hang-up I see,” Beaver said. Given the “bizarro” weather the nation has seen, it’s the only thing he is anticipating that could go wrong. The group chose March to “beat the desert heat,” he said, but they will “ride through no matter what (the weather) is. I have gear to handle most situations.”
The ride is to raise funds for the Firefighters Burn Institute, which helps children and adult burn victims and their families with expenses for recovery and rehabilitation. The Little Heroes program benefits pre-schoolers; Kids Camp and a Youth Fire Center benefits older children victims; an adult retreat helps adult victims with emotional and physical pain; and a UC Davis support group helps victims and their families.
For more information or to make a tax-deductible donation to the Firefighters Burn Institute, visit ffburn.org.
To follow Beaver’s journey, go to facebook.com/hopesanddreamsbenefitride.