Bicycle Around America update: A promise from Switzerland

Lukas Amann, a supporter of Brian D'Apice and Bicycle Around America, poses on a mountaintop in Switzerland.

Lukas Amann, a supporter of Brian D’Apice and Bicycle Around America, poses on a mountaintop in Switzerland.

Brian D’Apice’s Bicycle Around America adventure has gained momentum and an outrageous amount of support from across the country.

Friends and strangers have donated to Brian’s designated charities (Pencils of Promise and Connecting Families), put him up for the night, fed him, invited him to speak at schools, etc.

And then there’s Lukas Amann, a young man who is supporting Brian spiritually and physically from thousands of miles away.

Lukas and Brian met in Thailand, and I’ll let Lukas share that story below. But first, here’s part of a message he sent to Brian before his 10,000-mile solo trek began May 4.

“Chances are there will come a point where sh*t hits the fan and things get rough. And when that happens, it’s nice to know you’re not alone in your suffering.

“So, I combined several of my jogging routes into one big one that leads through part of Zürich and up Üetli-Mountain, where this pic (above) was taken.

Brian D'Apice

Brian D’Apice

“So when you feel like giving up, shoot me a message and I will run that 15k route (9.3 miles) the very same day, no matter what. That way, you can be sure that on the opposite side of the planet some guy is torturing himself with you for your cause and can – at least to some degree – feel your pain. All the best from Europe!”

Brian was touched by Lukas’ offer, although he has yet to take him up on it. The first 1,400 miles have gone quite well.

“I have not had a day rough enough to ask him to do that,” Brian said this week after a day of riding in Ohio. “I don’t want to jump the gun, but I feel I may never have a day that rough. This is mostly because of how I ‘enjoy’ the challenges of a trip like this. . . . I appreciate his willingness to suffer with me as I enjoy suffering with the people for whom I am raising money.”

Here are excerpts of Lukas’ account of how he met Brian, and why that meeting left such an impression:

I met Brian when I traveled in Thailand. I was doing this journey as an adventurous holiday trip, but I was also seeking an approach to spirituality and wanted to get into meditation which is so widely practised in numerous monasteries there.

Eventually I was introduced to the world of spirituality by this American guy, Brian, who stayed at the same room in a youth hostel. He was having a vivid conversation about religion and society with a German guy who also stayed at the place, when I entered the room.

I was very interested in what Brian was saying and the three of us spent some days together in Chiang Rai, visiting a museum, eating baked grasshoppers, playing football (soccer) with a traditional ball made from bamboo and most of all, having lots and lots of talks about spirituality, mindfulness and meditation. Brian was and is deeply inspiring and contagiously positive person to me.

We did not keep contact a lot, but as I hit rock bottom for a while, he was one of the very few people who I very much felt like getting in touch with and seeking advice. If you’d ask me which accidental acquaintances I am most grateful for in my life, he’d belong to that small bunch of people.

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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.

14 Responses to Bicycle Around America update: A promise from Switzerland

  1. markbialczak says:

    Fantastic to know that great and important things happen when strangers meet, talk and really listen to what the other has to offer in our world. Thank for sharing this tale of connection with an update to Brian’s journey, Jim. And, what do you think? Lukas kind of resembles Brian, doesn’t he?

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  2. That is heartwarming to think about the ways we connect with one another on this planet. these guys are showing us the best we can aspire to. Thanks for sharing their stories, Jim

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  3. I love that ‘suffering with’ concept, Jim. What a heart Brian has! ❤
    Diana xo

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  4. I wonder if even just knowing someone is willing to do this for you eases the suffering even before it begins? Wonderful sharing! Thanks Jim.

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    • Jim McKeever says:

      I think you’re correct, Louise … when Brian stayed with us, he shared an anecdote he had heard about the Dalai Lama: a person who was suffering emotionally asked the Dalai Lama to help ease his pain. The response was something like, “I can’t cure your pain, but I am willing to suffer along with you.” (I hope I have that right. Apologies if it’s not quite on the money.)

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  5. Inspiring read, makes you have a stronger belief in the compassion of our fellow humans Jim. Thanks for sharing.

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  6. Jim … I love that part about “accidental acquaintance.” If we could all meet such a person on our travels – whether at home or abroad – how delightful. I wish both of these young men the very best and that they achieve their goals. 😉

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    • Jim McKeever says:

      Absolutely, Judy … thank you. I’ll post updates periodically. Brian’s in Indiana now, en route to Chicago. He’s always interested in meeting her friends along his route, if you happen to know anybody in the cities/regions listed on his website.

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