Men embark on cross-country trek to raise money for housing charity
Bob Frick and Len Holmes embarked on their second Cycle of Hope bike tour in June. In July, when they reached a halfway point in Mobridge, they had raised more than $125,000 and biked more than 1,500 miles for the Habitat for Humanity (HFH).
By journeys end, the cyclists’ route will have taken them 3,000 miles across the nation. Their route extends across from Ashland Or, up through South Dakota and back down to the Gateway Arch in St. Louis. Their goal during their ride is to spread awareness of homelessness and work towards a solution. The men describe their journey as arduous and the ambitious gentleman are undertaking the trek with an equally ambitious goal in mind; ending homelessness.
HFH is a non-profit housing agency that aims to address the issues of poverty housing. The organization has built more than 300,000 homes since 1973. With money raised from the cycling tour, Frick and Holmes hope to add two more to that sum. Donations to their cause are going to a 10- family complex in East Bay San Francisco, Calif.
Frick first heard of the organization from a student in one of his business courses at St. Mary’s of California. He was challenged to ride just 500 miles to raise money. Having just turned 70 and undergone two hip replacement surgeries, the desire was met with some skepticism.
“I called Habitat for Humanity and told them my age and I was going to do this ride,” said Frick. “I could here them laughing on the other end of the phone.”
Frick completed the ride and looked on to longer routes. In 2008, Frick trekked from California to Florida. Shortly after the completion of his second ride, he was introduced to Len Holmes. Holmes is retired from the computer logistics industry and in 2007, at the age of 65, completed a 5,300 mile bike tour from one end of the nation to the other. Frick was asking for training advice, but when the two got to talking, they decided to team up. Holmes said he jumped at the opportunity to ride again.
“The first time I rode, I didn’t ride for an organization or to raise money,” said Holmes. “I realized what an opportunity I’d missed by not riding for a cause and wanted to do this to spread awareness for HFH.”
Frick and Holmes set a fundraising limit and started seeking donations. Amounts ranged from a few dollars to the thousands, quickly surpassing the two men’s goal of $1,000 for each birthday.
Born and raised outside the Midwest, both men count seeing the openness and fertility of the area as a highlight of their journey.
“We’ve had the opportunity to see the amazing productivity of American agriculture,” said Holmes. “We’ve had an amazing chance to tour the heartland.”