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Richmond man bikes coast-to-coast to raise money for disabled athletes

Published: May. 13, 2022 at 5:32 PM EDT|Updated: May. 13, 2022 at 5:48 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - One Richmond man is riding all the way from Washington state to Maine in the hopes of raising $100,000 for physically disabled and visually impaired athletes.

Dan Schmitt will travel 45,000 miles from Seattle to Bar Harbor, Maine for the next 90 days in order to raise money for this cause. Schmitt said accomplishing this mammoth adventure has always been a dream for him.

“I’m retired now, but I have always wanted to have my own Kon-Tiki challenge,” said Schmitt. “And if I can do that and make it more than just myself then that’s really special.”

Schmitt is referring to a 1947 journey by raft across the Pacific Ocean from South America to the Polynesian islands, led by Norwegian explorer and writer Thor Heyerdahl. The raft was named ‘Kon-Tiki’ and the crew spent over 100 days trying to find the islands.

While Schmitt will not be traveling the seas, he is expected to cycle through mountains, plains, and forests with only his bike and a backpack.

“It’s a great way to see the county, it’s a great way to meet people, and I’m always just happy when I’m on my bike,” said Schmitt.

No one is more thrilled about Schmitt’s journey than those who work for a Richmond-based organization called Sportable. There they will be virtually watching his journey, taking donations on his behalf, and encouraging cyclists to do their own ‘Kon-Tiki challenge by matching his miles.

“Sportable is an adaptive sports club where we provide sporting opportunities to wheelchair users, amputees, and those with visual impairments, and with this money, we’ll be able to make even more advancements,” said Hunter Leemon, Executive Director for Sportable.

Schmitt currently volunteers for Sportable and offered to do the ride to spread awareness and raise money for the dozens of athletes represented by the organization. All of the proceeds raised through the ‘Kon-Tiki’ challenge will go towards supporting Sportable athletes.

“We are so incredibly blessed to have volunteers like Dan,” said Leemon. “He is taking on this huge challenge that he has thought about forever and for him to do it and support our mission and our athletes it’s amazing!”

You can watch Schmitt’s journey, donate, or learn more about the program here.

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