Mission Accomplished:77+ miles=$85,000+

A picture is worth 1,000 words:


So, Mission accomplished.  But, wait, here’s one more photo I want you to see:

2018 (83)

I biked an extra six miles because I got carried away by the beautiful day and a very flat course with a tail wind.  My birthday is tomorrow, but I moved the ride up two days based on weather reports. I began at 7AM and had the old ‘rails to trails’ path pretty much to myself.  Meaning few other humans.  Lots of wildlife: I passed a mother goose and her eight or nine goslings; a yearling deer who stayed motionless on the bike path as I glided by, maybe 3 feet from it; a woodchuck; swans; innumerable chipmunks and rabbits; and this majestic egret.

Heron 2018

One swan is barely visible from this old railroad bridge

Swan 2018

Perhaps 6 miles of the entire 83 mile ride are NOT bucolic, wooded, and peaceful;  occasionally there’s evidence of the old railroad system.

rails2 2018

Here’s what really matters: Based on what folks have reported to me, readers have pledged or donated more than $85,000 to various organizations and political candidates.  Planned Parenthood seems to be a favorite, along with the Network for Public Education.  Joan and I donated to Planned Parenthood, NPE, and Jesse Colvin’s campaign for the Congressional seat in the First District of Maryland (take a look if you have time.)  Some of you reported giving to two or three organizations.  One large donation to Tougaloo College, an HBCU, skewed the results, and I am certain that the donor, a writer friend, would have made his gift anyway, but he said he was linking it to my bike ride and urged me to include it in the total, which I have done.

(I hope those of you who pledged $77 will now round up. May I suggest $100.)

Now, to get into the weeds about my ride: I averaged 12.7 miles per hour, a decent pace for someone about to enter his 78th year of life, I think.

AVG 2018

I started riding at 7AM and finished seven and a half hours later, but that included two snack breaks, lunch, and a trip to the bike store in Yorkville Heights to replace my sunglasses (which broke, the only negative).  My total biking time was 6 hours, 28 minutes, and 23 seconds, according to my odometer.

total time 2018

I barely made it to sunset before crashing; I slept from 9PM until 6:30 this morning.

Thanks for indulging me, for reading, and for donating to a worthy organization (or two or three).  I feel blessed for being alive and healthy, but now let’s back to the serious business of rescuing public education and our children from two distinctly different groups, Betsy DeVos and her supporters and the test-obsessed corporate reformers.





11 thoughts on “Mission Accomplished:77+ miles=$85,000+

  1. Go John! Have donated to Planned Parenthood in your honor! Now that you’re in such great shape, perhaps you’re ready for Vermont’s Green Mou tains! We’ve got just the right rest stop in mind for you! Karen & Ralph


  2. Well done, John! We will be happy to contribute, Have a good summer,

    Jean Bernard and Martine Schmidt

    De : The Merrow Report <comment-reply@wordpress.com> Répondre à : The Merrow Report <comment+zejkjznmimm-v70c-idutgk5@comment.wordpress.com> Date : mercredi 13 juin 2018 à 15:35 À : Jean-Bernard Schmidt <jbschmidt@sofinnova.fr> Objet : [New post] Mission Accomplished:77+ miles=$85,000+

    John Merrow posted: “A picture is worth 1,000 words: So, Mission accomplished. But, wait, here’s one more photo I want you to see: I biked an extra six miles because I got carried away by the beautiful day and a very flat course with a tail wind. My birthday is tomorr”


  3. What a beautiful ride! So glad we are developing such good re-use for old railroads. I was a member of Rails-to-Trails for a year or two, tho I now focus my giving on fewer recipients.
    My donation, which skewed the results, was to Tougaloo College, and I do suggest that everyone think about this doughty little school in MS. It delivers more “bang for the buck” than any other recipient of $ in higher ed., I think, because it does more with less money, and in our poorest and blackest state. There, it convinces students that they can be great, and as a result, some of them do wind up that way.
    Best wishes!


  4. The donations that I know about:
    By far the largest was from Jim Loewen, author of Sundown Towns and Lies My Teacher Taught Me, to TOUGALOO College, the Black College in Mississippi.
    PLANNED PARENTHOOD received at least 16 donations that I am aware of, and others donated to the Planned Parenthood Action Fund or a local PP group like Friends of Family Planning. I have been told of seven gifts to the NETWORK FOR PUBLIC EDUCATION. A number of political candidates received donations, including JESSE COLVIN in Maryland’s 1st Congressional District, DEB HAALAND for Congress, MATT BROWN for RI Governor, ‘Two progressives in New Mexico,’ and ‘Whoever’s running against Rohrabacher.’
    WGBH and the Edward R. Murrow Fund at WGBH received donations.
    A few education-related organizations received donations, including BATS and the MINNESOTA READING CORPS.
    Some donations were clearly political: the ACLU, the SOUTHERN POVERTY LAW CENTER, and GRANDMOTHERS AGAINST GUN VIOLENCE.
    Many donations went to helping organizations: the DARE TO CARE FOOD BANK, the KIDS IN NEED FOUNDATION, the BOYS AND GIRLS CLUB OF HOBE SOUND (FL), the FUTURES FOUNDATION OF VOLUSA COUNTY (FL), the UNITED MITOCHONDRIAL FOUNDATION, and a Catholic parish in the earthquake-ravaged area of Guatemala.
    Finally, at least 17 people wrote to say they were making a donation but did not specify recipients.

    If everyone did as promised and assuming those 17 donated at least $77, the total contributed is north of $87,000.
    Thanks….see you next year…


  5. John,

    A come-lately participant on your journey, but I have donated $77 to Feed the Hungry, a terrific program down here that provides over 1,000 meals a day to rural schools. I assume the bike was easier than the skateboarding you used to do on the Chicago streets.




  6. I keep hearing about more donations, and I have a hunch the total is now around $90,000.

    But as for me personally, I may have been a little too proud of using my birthday ride to encourage people to donate to worthy causes because last week, while I was still basking in the glow, life knocked me down a peg and bit me in the ass. Yep, I had my first biking accident since I was 12 or 13, proving, I guess, that pride literally goes before a fall. I was trying to set a personal speed record for an 11-mile loop that I do here on the Vineyard. Came around the last corner, maybe 500 yards from home, and at a personal best pace of nearly 15 miles per hour (some of the loop is through town when I have to go slow), and my chain caught. I fell sideways, scraped up one knee and elbow, probably suffered a mild concussion (thank God for a good helmet!) and may have a small fracture of a rib. The whole thing happened in what seemed like slow motion, and I somehow knew enough not to try to break my fall with my hand! My elbow immediately blew up to the size of an orange but subsided quickly with ice. That was a week ago, and I began biking again yesterday…but slowly. No more speed trials!!!!


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