Lord willing, I will celebrate my 80th birthday in a few days, and on that day I will once again attempt to bike my age. I began this admittedly trivial pursuit in 2011, the year I turned 70, and have managed to do it successfully for 10 consecutive years. However, the challenge is becoming tougher as my body ages and the distance increases.
An athletic nephew has suggested that I switch to kilometers, and that day may be fast approaching….but not this year.
Because 80 seems like an important milestone and in an effort to make this more than just a personal challenge, I am biking for dollars. Let’s call it “My sore butt for your big bucks!”
Here’s my pitch: If I do make it to the finish line, I hope that many of you will open your wallets and contribute $80, $800, or some other multiple of 80 to a significant charity.
At a minimum, I’m trying to divert your attention, for a while anyway, away from all the crises and challenges facing our nation.
As for what organizations you might consider donating to, I have some suggestions: If you believe that quality reporting about education is important, please consider a tax-deductible gift to the Education Writers Association, the Hechinger Report, or Chalkbeat.
If you value public education, please consider donating to the Network for Public Education.
Your local food bank would appreciate a donation, but if you want to help the island that Joan and I live on, please donate to the Island Housing Trust, which is building affordable housing for the island’s teachers, firefighters, and others who keep things running.
And if your donation is going to a familiar group, I hope you will bump up your gift by at least $80.
Some of you may remember that last year I got tricked into thinking that my ride would be televised on ESPN, under the auspices of a Swedish-based sporting group called ABBA. Eventually I figured out that ABBA is a singing group and there would be no television.
Then, because of a technological difficulty that called into question whether my original measurement was accurate, I ended up doing the 79-mile ride twice, three days apart. Unfortunately, the international rules governing these events do not allow stockpiling of miles. If they did, I could and would sleep in on June 14th!
So, what are the odds that I can bike 80 miles on my 80th birthday?
BAD: My longest training ride this year is only 36 miles.
GOOD: I will be cycling on a mostly flat course.
BAD: I’m 10 pounds heavier than I had hoped to weigh on the big day.
GOOD:I will have company for part of the ride.
BAD: This island is windy
GOOD: I’m stubborn…
In a few days, we’ll find out what that adds up to.
But as I write this, I’m feeling confident. So here’s my pitch: If you will post your pledge on the blog for all to see AND if I don’t make it, I will personally make good on your pledge.