Source: Sherman Publications

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Bicyclist rides across America, makes a stop in Goodrich

by Kelly Baum

September 28, 2011

Chris Figureida shows his bicycle that he rides across the U.S. to Dominic Gallo and Chase Hiller, students at Reid Elementary. Photos by Patrick McAbee.
For Chris Figureida, his mission across the U.S. is "a means to an end."

"Exercise, eat healthy, and make a difference" is the message that Figureida gave to students at Reid Elementary on Sept. 27.

"I'm trying to inspire them that they can make differences too," Figureida said. Students looked on as Figureida talked about the importance of wearing helmets, why bananas and spinach are essential to maintaining a healthy diet, and stories of his trek across the nation.

But Figureida's presentation wasn't just about personal healthiness; he included environmentally-conscious ideas for kids, including his solar-powered charging station so he can charge his iPad, cellphone, and GPS on the road without having to worry about disposable batteries

Currently, Figureida is on his fifth bike ride across America, which he's expected to complete on Nov. 14 in Seattle after 4,260 miles. A native of Ventura, California, he has ridden from California to Maine, through Hurricane Irene, and was even caught in Kansas near an F5 tornado. "I've been through some really rough weather," he admits.

Figureida's organization, Cycle for Heart, is a non-profit group whose mission is to promote a healthy lifestyle. The website for Cycle for Heart is where Chris's progress is tracked, as well as which cities he's projected to be in. There is also an opportunity available to donate to Cycle for Heart.

Figureida said that the inspiration for starting his program, from which he's spoken to over 30,000 kids around the nation, came from people he met in Africa who were volunteering for AIDS, and now he's trying to inspire kids and tell them that they can make differences, too. "I'm not out here for myself," he said.

"It's my dream to be out here with you kids," were Figureida's final words in closing his presentation. "It's what I want to do with my life."

For more information on Cycle for Heart, or to follow Chris, visit www.cycleforheart.org.