Saturday, May 30

The rider and his folks

The rider
* Nicolas, European (species: French), 41, engineer (he knows how to change a tube), in love with his kine therapist.
* Bike: bought more than 10 years ago, a mountain bike with road tires, no sophisticated technology, still looks great in my eyes
* Trailer: BOB Yak, brand new, the dream of a kid

Yet a rider is nothing without the support of his folks

Route strategist: Alexandre
As my personal "Nicolas Bouvier", Alexandre is not only slightly Swiss, a world traveler and a great writer (he also translates this blog to French!!); he has a strong experience in eXtreme physical events such as Le Marathon des Sables.

Kine therapist: Claire
The mechanic of the rider, whether for his body or for his soul, Claire is also my muse and my home.

Sophrologist: Laurent
This adventure would not look like a real achievement if I did not have my personal sophrologist to assist me in developing a good combination between my mind and my body. Wherever I am, Laurent often calls me a good joke. That will be my sort of laugh yoga !

Survival guru: Rachel
Rachel grew in LA and now leaves in NYC where I met her. Thanks to her, I managed to survive the jungle of NYC. She also tough me many tricks to survive in the mid-west... I wonder sometimes if she's ever been there?

Last yet not least, my mascot: Théophile
He is the son of my sister Pascale and I wish that each kilometer I will ride is like a "Go Théophile Go ! " for him.

Schedule & route

My departure is planned for Monday June 8th. My bike and trailer are almost ready.

With GoogleMaps, I have drafted my route to San Francisco: from New York directly towards the west (and not towards Niagara Falls as initially planned), New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio... along Erie lake, keep going west little rider... Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Wyoming, Idaho, Oregon... make a left... California.

View Larger Map

Three months is 90 days. There are 5,000 km (3,100 mi) end to end. So, considering that I should not ride once a week, that's an average of 65 km (40 mi) per day.

More info:
* Actual - Detailed route & statistics
* Adventure Cycling Association
* Climate maps

Friday, May 29

Three steps to help

Théophile is my nephew. He's 9 year old. He's a cool little guy, fond of his many hippos. When he was 5, Théophile was intensively treated for leukemia and mostly recovered. End of April '09, we learnt that his leukemia was back and he started a second treatment.

Of course every case is different and Théophile is well taken care of in France at 'Hopital Trousseau', a pediatric hospital in Paris. It so far involves chemotherapy and radiology.

Still his case is not isolated. You certainly know people in your family or relatives who are going through similar struggles. If you want to help such kids in their treatment against leukemia, here is an effective and easy way in just three steps

1. Get informed about leukemia and bone marrow donation
The challenge is the following: in some cases to cure leukemia, you need to transplant some bone marrow. Yet matching bone marrow are very rare and therefore the more people are registered for potential donors, the greater are the chances to find a matching donor.

More info:
* Leukemia on Wikipedia
* US registry: National Marrow Donor Program
* France registry: Le don de moelle osseuse

2. Make a financial contribution
As it costs around $100 to perform the blood analysis and enroll one person in the registry, your financial contribution can help growing the national registry.

3. Become a potential Bone Marrow Donor
By enrolling to your national registry, you will be among the many people who have already committed and one day, you may be contacted by a doctor if your bone marrow is compatible.

Registering is a great commitment that can lead to give you the chance to save a life !

Thursday, May 28

Riding for bone marrow donation

The world has changed but our ambitions remain the same: live a better life. The frontier we are after today involves better living together. Did you know for instance that somewhere in Europe or in the rest of the world, someone can be about to save the life of a little American?

In 2005 when my nephew Théophile went thru his first leukemia, I got interested in bone marrow donation. Leukemia is a blood disease. One way to cure it lays in bone marrow transplantation. Yet the probability that a donor is compatible with a patient is so tiny that a huge number of potential donors is required. Therefore countries are helping each other to increase the number of potential donors: according to the World Marrow Donor Association, "over one-third of patients transplanted with hematopoietic progenitor cells from an unrelated donor receives their cells from a donor in another country".

I therefore decided to take the opportunity of this road trip to promote this effort that concerns us all, whether we are from the West or from the East, the North or the South: registering for bone marrow donation.

More info:
* Three steps to help
* Report about bone marrow transplantation

Why go west?

I'm not used to living on the East side. I mean on the East side of a continent.

In Long Island, I often get confused between East and West. It doesn't match my instinct that you should go East to find the ocean.

Three months of spare time and a bicycle should be enough to go West and find the Pacific ocean.

Let's say, from New York to San Francisco; along the great lakes, thru the hills, plains and montains of this country with the size of a continent.

Ah New York ! The town where so many immigrants landed; and abroad the symbol of the American dream. San Francisco, the most European of American cities. It was the destination of so many of these immigrants, as Blaise Cendrars describes it in "L'Or" or John Steinbeck in "East of Eden".

The world has changed tremendously since. Traveling is easier and we move so fast that we miss so many of these little things that make a big difference. Inspired by Nicolas Bouvier, I want to offer me the luxury of slowness. If only I could be as sharp an observer as he was.

* Ride for bone marrow donation