Biking can be a solitary sport. Often it’s just you, the road, and your trusty two-wheeler to keep you company. For Nate Gray, though, biking isn’t a “me” thing—it’s about everyone else. Which is why at 23 years old he’s heading out on a 4,500 mile, cross-country bike ride from Olympic Peninsula in Washington state to Ocean City, New Jersey and he’s doing it all for charity. By the end of his trip, Nate plans on raising $10,000 for Urban Blazers, a nonprofit that helps underprivileged kids enjoy the great outdoors.
Here’s Nate on his love for cycling, teaming up with Urban Blazers and the art of making crepes.
On becoming a cyclist: “My parents gave me my first true bike when I was around 8 or 9. It was a Haro X2 Backtrail BMX bike. I wouldn’t say I was a cyclist at that point. It was more a means of transportation prior to having a car. I bought an entry-level road bike when I was 19 and immediately fell in love.”
On biking for all his needs: “If I want a great workout, I’ll grab my road bike and head out with Western Washington University’s cycling team. If I want an adrenaline rush, Bellingham has world class mountain biking that’s minutes from my doorstep. I’m currently in the process of building a bike to transport my sea kayak to the bay. It will be the ultimate morning workout – a bike to the bay, a sunrise paddle, and a ride back.”
On teaming up with Urban Blazers for his cross-country ride: “I was home in Philadelphia telling a friend about the ride. He asked me what charity I’m raising money for, and, at that point, I had no plans. Urban Blazers immediately popped into my mind. They take the kids hiking, climbing, skiing and on all sorts of awesome adventures. They focus on adventures close by the kids, so they can recreate the adventure on their own.”
On preparing for his trip… by drinking beer: “Riding a lot of miles, drinking great beer and eating a whole lot of great food. A friend and I just spent three days touring on Vancouver Island. Mini tours are perfect for testing out gear, seeing how you should pack and obviously for having fun.”
On stopping along the way: “I haven’t seen my parents since December. Since they’ll probably be reading this, I’m most excited to stop in Philadelphia. Aside from seeing my parents and eating a cheesesteak, we’re stopping in Glacier National Park, the Tetons and Yellowstone.”
On making crepes to fund the trip: “I’ve worked at a crepe shop for the past year, and that helped fund the bike trip. I had no idea how to make a crepe before working there, but, before long, I was flipping crepes until 2:30 in the morning.”
On his next journey: “The next big adventure is going to be kayaking and surfing down the entire Baja Coast. I would also love to apprentice a bike mechanic, learn how to weld and, most importantly, get a puppy.”
You can follow Nates’ progress and donate to the cause at rideallthemiles.com.
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