Army veteran to bicycle 10,000 miles around America

Bicycle Around America

Brian D’Apice with children in Bogor, Indonesia.

Brian D’Apice was backpacking half a world away when he dreamed up his next adventure, a 10,000-mile fundraising odyssey he’s calling “Bicycle Around America.”

It’s exactly how it sounds. Brian, 30, of Glen Rock, Pa., will ride solo through every state on the perimeter of the continental United States. He’ll start out in New York City May 4, and make it back about a year from now.

The Army veteran is riding to raise money for two charities, Pencils of Promise and Connecting Families. Pencils of Promise builds schools in Southeast Asia and Africa, and Connecting Families provides health care to the poor in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Brian spent the past two-plus years teaching and working in Southeast Asia, after serving two tours in Iraq with the U.S. Army and earning a degree in marketing from York College in Pennsylvania.

Brian D'Apice

Brian D’Apice will ride through 30 states during his Bicycle Around America trek.

“This whole ride is based on appreciation,” Brian said. “I can’t emphasize it enough. It’s to remind people to appreciate what they have. We get this idea that it’s pretty bad here, but compared to other countries, we have it so good.”

The idea for Bicycle Around America was born two years ago, when Brian was backpacking in Southeast Asia.

“I wish there was some sort of story,” he said by phone from his home in southeastern Pennsylvania last week on the eve of turning 30. “I was in Vietnam, and I just woke up one morning and knew what I was going to do. I contacted a friend I had met there and told him, ‘I just got this crazy idea.’ ”

When his friend expressed skepticism, Brian didn’t budge.

“I knew I wanted to speak about what I saw in Asia,” he said, referring to poverty and gaps in education and health care. “The conditions are so extreme, I want this (ride) to be extreme, to draw attention to it.”

Brian will average 30 miles a day, with some long days and recovery days mixed in. Some nights he’ll camp out, others he’ll stay with friends new and old. He wants to speak to as many individuals, school groups and veterans’ organizations as he can. (Contact him via his website, bicyclearoundamerica.com.)

Brian D'Apice with a child in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Brian D’Apice with a child in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Brian welcomes other cyclists to accompany him here and there. His route, fundraising updates, video interviews, his blog and other information are on his website. He’ll also use Twitter (@BikeAroundUSA) and other social media to update his followers.

For the launch, he’s going big. On the morning of May 4, Brian will be in Rockefeller Center outside NBC’s TODAY show studios, holding up a sign promoting his trip.

Then he’ll get on his 2015 Jamis Aurora Elite touring bike and ride.

He’ll pedal north toward Boston (where younger brother Brent lives) to speak at a school May 11. The rest of his itinerary is fluid. He plans to reach the Pacific Northwest this summer, ride down the coast in the fall and pedal across the southernmost states during the winter. From Florida, he’ll head north to New York City, where he hopes to arrive close to his 31st birthday next April.

The goal is to raise $100,000 and split it between Pencils of Promise and Connecting Families. Donors also can help pay for the ride; Brian has already spent about $2,000 of his own money on camping and bike equipment. He has sponsors, but will burn a lot of calories and will need to “go grocery shopping just like everyone else,” he said.

Brian suspects the mental challenges of the ride will be tougher than the physical, and he hopes to minimize the dreaded headwinds that take a toll on body and mind. (A windblown 52-mile training ride on Easter Sunday was not fun, he said).

Preparing for the ride has consumed his life in recent weeks — logistics, media interviews, training rides, even a visit to his old elementary school to speak to classes.

“I’ve never worked so hard and not earned any money,” Brian said. “But I couldn’t be more motivated.”

His brother Brent isn’t surprised that Brian is giving up a year of his life to do this, noting his military service and his work with aid organizations in Southeast Asia.

“Even growing up, he always wanted to help others,” said Brent, who’s 25 (another brother, Brandon, turns 32 this month).  “Now that he’s back, he exemplifies his giving nature with this bike ride. The one thing I didn’t see when I was young, but clearly see now, is the one resounding trait Brian possesses — selflessness.”

I’ll keep track of Brian’s trip, which will bring him to Syracuse, NY (Irish Investigations headquarters) in late May. Anyone who wants to help Brian — or ride with him — can contact me by commenting below, or reach out to Brian directly via social media.

Bicycle Around America

Brian D’Apice with friends in Bogor, Indonesia.

 

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About Jim McKeever

Writer, father, runner, advocate based in Central New York.
This entry was posted in Irish Investigations, poverty and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to Army veteran to bicycle 10,000 miles around America

  1. Jim McKeever says:

    Brian’s brother Brent is a good friend of one of my sons. I’ve yet to meet Brian, but the plan is for him to stay at my house when he passes through Central New York. It will be an honor to meet him and host him.

    Like

  2. Wow, what an inspiring story Jim – thanks for sharing it! ❤
    Diana xo

    Like

  3. chmjr2 says:

    We need a lot more people like him in this world.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. markbialczak says:

    This is fantastic reporting and writing, Jim. What do you have planned for Brian’s visit to our hometown in late May? Let me know. I’d love to join in the celebration and tribute and donation that day, please and thank you.

    Also, if I may: I think you should email this link with a note to NBC publicity, suggesting that they do more than have Brian holding his sign in the background the day he starts his journey. He deserves to be interviewed by one of the hosts, and to have his site information flashed on the screen. They also put segment highlights on their site. That could dramatically increase donations for his two worthy causes.

    Thanks for this post, sir.

    Liked by 1 person

    • markbialczak says:

      I also ‘Press This’ed this story, borrowing your photo. I hope to jump the views and contributions, of course.

      Like

    • Jim McKeever says:

      Mark, thank you for all of that! I will definitely do as much front-end work for Brian as I can, including hitting up Al Roker & Co. Tremendous idea! I’m trying to line up speaking engagements for him in CNY, and also encourage local cyclists to join him parts of the way, provide any equipment repairs he might need, etc. And thank you for wanting to help as he passes through. He’ll stay at our house one night in late May, date to be determined (like everything else!)

      Like

  5. Pingback: Army veteran to bicycle 10,000 miles around America | Mark Bialczak

  6. Good luck Brian! I admire such devotion to humanity. I look forward to following him around the country Jim.

    Like

  7. Pingback: Riding across this great big land for a worldly cause | Mark Bialczak

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