Keith Harris is pedaling for a purpose.
At the tender age of 50, he's set out on an eight-week, 4,400-mile bike ride across the U.S. to raise $25,000 for The Rotary Foundation. He's also hoping to raise an additional $2,500 for Anna Jaques Hospital in Newburyport, Massachusetts, where a few years ago he was treated for a life-threatening heart condition.
"The trip is sort of my midlife crisis," he admits but it's not the first time he's pedaled across the country. He made the trek about 20 years ago, before he married his wife, Christina.
Harris has been a Rotary member for 18 years. He's served as president for the Rotary Club of Ipswich, Massachusetts, and as a district Rotary Foundation chair for seven years. He says Rotary has become "a way of life" for him and for Christina, who's also a member.
"Rotary is indeed a body of many parts," says Harris. "It allows us to reach out through the headlines and interact with the people we otherwise would only hear or read about."
He'll have plenty of interactions during the trip this summer. He says he's planning to occasionally stay with other Rotary members along the way, as well as tap into the hospitality of the WarmShowers.org community for cyclists. His trip began 9 June in Seattle where he dipped his rear wheel into the Pacific, and he hopes to finish in Newburyport on 9 August by dipping his front tire into the Atlantic.
"Hopefully I will meet new people and by doing something unusual, have new opportunities to encourage them to do what I believe they already want to do deep down," he says. "They just need to think about it a bit differently."
Harris is riding a Co-Motion Cascadia, the same bike he rode on his first cross-country outing. He's raised $22,850 toward his goals.