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I’m bicycling across America (COAST to COAST from Stone Harbor, NJ to Los Angeles, CA). 🌊🚴🏼‍♂️🌊 This solo journey down the east coast and across the country will total about 3,600 miles.

I’m riding in an attempt to raise as much money as possible for Bell Socialization (which runs the family homeless shelter in my hometown of York, Pennsylvania).

🟢🟢🟢 TO DONATE TO HELP THE HOMELESS, please click on the following link. (All donations are tax deductible and go straight from GoFundMe to Bell): https://gofund.me/5b660142

I have a special place in my heart for Bell Socialization because I worked at their family homeless shelter in my 20’s and was so impressed with the incredible work they do in our community.

Unfortunately, the community’s need exceeds Bell’s current capacity. Bell’s family homeless shelter is forced to turn away 50 – 100 families PER MONTH in the winter time (700 families per year) due to lack of space. Some of these families with children end up sleeping in their car.

🔵🔵🔵 TV NEWS CLIP ABOUT THIS JOURNEY: Here’s a short local Fox 43 TV news video clip that gives a good overview of this coast to coast bicycle ride fundraiser and the charity for which I’m riding: https://www.fox43.com/mobile/article/news/local/york-county-man-biking-across-the-country-to-raise-money-for-bell-socialization/521-0da649dc-48bb-4053-a4c2-7dde9b59e747?fbclid=IwAR2XGpbTP1JN_RCTKU3wJLQ2VorxOqTvSRc3x8EIwn98XCMLIuTqHD9Q6CQ

🟡🟡🟡 FACEBOOK & INSTAGRAM: Follow along on this cross country journey. These social media pages are 100% devoted to this bicycle ride. ‍

* FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/coasttocoastbicycleride/

* INSTAGRAM: @billswartz3

* WEBSITE for this COASTtoCOASTbicycleride: http://www.thisclearbluesky.com

Bill Swartz

billswartz@mac.com

#COASTtoCOASTbicycleride

Note 1: I am taking this journey as inexpensively as possible (mostly staying in a tent in state parks and campgrounds). I’m mostly eating freeze-dried camp food (which is actually pretty delicious and nutritious these days).

Note 2: No records being set here. 🙂 No heavy mileage with all this weight in my panniers. Biggest day so far around 60 miles and I take lots of rest breaks (during the day and between riding days). I’m 51 so I take plenty of time and listen to my body when it wants to recover.

Note 3: I’m riding a regular bicycle, not an “e” bike.

All the best to everyone. Thanks for following along on this adventure!

Meant to mention this yesterday. In Texas, they do everything big. This is the fire chief in Avery, Texas (population 650) with their “new” used 6 wheeled vehicle that helps them reach folks in muddy locations. He can inflate or deflate the tires from inside this old truck.

TRAIL MAGIC: How I ended up at a little party at the Cycle Works bike shop in Paris, Texas on a Saturday night ✨ ✨

Anyone who has done long distance hiking or biking can tell you that there really is a thing called trail magic. Coincidences, chance meetings… call them whatever you like. But sometimes you luck out and meet the coolest people at just the right time.

That fantastic little one room “hostel” on the back of that volunteer fire station in Avery, Texas wasn’t in any of the guide sites that I use. I ended up there by chance. I was in Texarkana and needed to get my bike valve stem fixed. A kind gentleman from Ireland who was a bicycle enthusiast came over to the air pump, asked what the problem was and offered to take me over to his local bike shop.

The owner of the bike shop, Terry, was very kind and helpful. And after he made the necessary repair, he recommended this little one room hostel on the back of volunteer fire company in Avery, Texas 40 miles to the west.

The bike shop owner in Texarkana knows the fire chief in Avery because they’re both champions of the local “NETT” trail (60 mile rail trail across northeast Texas). So I got to stay in that cool little one room hostel in the back of the volunteer fire station right on that rail trail.

The next morning, the fire chief came over to say goodbye, chat and show me the volunteer fire station’s massive “new” used fire trucks. During that conversation, he connected me with the head of the rail trail initiative in Paris, Texas who recommended a place to set up my tent 50 miles to the west in Paris by the Eiffel Tower.

Then I got a flat tire on my way into Paris. (Incredibly this was my FIRST FLAT TIRE in 2,000+ miles) – Sidewall split open. It was a tire from home in Pennsylvania that I had been carrying I had put it on in Texarkana and that tire of mine from home may have been defective.

The head of the rail trail then connected me with the owners of the owner of the bike shop “Cycleworks” in Paris, Texas. The owner of that bike shop in Paris is also a champion of the NETT rail trail. (Rail trails really are a golden thread that connect people and communities)!

Miraculously we all met up at the Cycleworks bike shop on a Saturday night in Paris, laughing and enjoying the camaraderie that comes with cycling. Everyone was so kind and it was a lot of fun to talk with fellow bikers. The fellow who’s doing the engineering for the rail trail showed up and so did the head champion of the rail trail (and she brought her husband and son). There’s a fellowship among cyclists that can’t be beat. One of the many great things about cycling across the country. You’re always among friends.

It’s a small world. Full of trail magic. And I’m truly grateful.

Website for this COAST to COAST bicycle ride to benefit Bell Socialization: http://www.thisclearbluesky.com

Bell runs the family homeless shelter in my hometown of York, Pennsylvania where I used to be a caseworker. They unfortunately turn down 700 families a year due to lack of space. Many of these families have children and some of them end up sleeping in their cars.

You’ll see photos and stories on that website as well as donation link and social media links.

This is the town square in Avery, Texas where that volunteer fire company let me stay in their cool little one room hostel. Apparently this fellow and his son like to take their mule team through town on Saturday’s. (Very vehicle friendly downtown… I also saw people come through this town square on tractors and lawn mowers). They also built a pavilion that’s a replica of one of the “tomato sheds” by the rail lines where farmers used to bring their produce to sell. That brand new pavilion is perfect for concerts and events.

This little town is really coming alive and some of the growth is due to the 60 mile “NETT” rail trail that links up towns here in Texas. I had the good fortune to meet the head of the rail trail initiative (Kelly Whitley) and others involved in the initiative (bike shop owners in Paris and Texarkana and the fire chief in Avery. They are all doing such a great job getting this 60 mile “NETT” rail trail up and running here in northeast Texas.

Rail trails bring people together and strengthen economies in communities! 😊🚴🏼‍♂️

Thanks to Gary, the fire chief (blue shirt with beard), for introducing me to these amazing folks at Cycleworks, the excellent bike shop here in Paris, Texas. The owner of the shop (far left with beard) is a very cool dude and was so helpful. The engineer for their local rail trail is at center. And on the far right is the champion of the 60 mile rail trail that starts here in Paris with her husband and son.

In Texas, everything is bigger. They even take their truck bumpers seriously. Also, I’m getting a sense that people are real family oriented. I’ve seen fathers out with their young kids just enjoying the day, people relaxing at fish fries, people from all different backgrounds genuinely talking with each other and listening, hearing each other’s stories. My general impression so far is that people in Texas have hearts as big as their bumpers. 🙂

This is the view from my bunk room in the back of volunteer fire company in tiny town 45 miles west of Texarkana, Texas. The population of this town is 650. But despite their size, they created this wonderful little space for people traveling by bicycle. Here’s to bike friendly communities. ☺️🚴🏼‍♂️