Put down the spoon, picked up a bike!

I am asking for assistance with my 5 month solo bicycle tour from London to Sicily. My goal is $2500 to help with the cost of food and gear. As of right now Im headed to London on August 1st with my bike, passport, tent, and not much else... I knew I needed to buy the ticket so there was no way of backing out. Im leaving my job, family/friends, routine, and everything I am comfortable with to go on this journey. I do not know what im going to go through, and what im going to have to face to make it through this trip, but something inside is telling me to go. For as long as I could remember I have always wanted to see the world, and my total obsession with bicycles has convinced me that I need to see it from one.

Waking from my second heroin/oxycotin overdose(like the first one wasn't bad enough)I realized I had to change my life. On the morning of July 26th 2010 I shot dope for the last time and checked myself into a treatment center in St Petersburg Fl. At the treatment center my job was to pick up donations. A month into treatment I was at a donors house and we started talking about his road bike hanging in the garage. I told him how I wouldn't be able to drive for 5 years and that I was planning on buying a road bike when I got out of treatment. He then realized that I was in a treatment program and not a paid employee. Next I was told that he had 28 years clean and cycling had greatly helped him in his recovery. He said that he hoped cycling will help me as much as it has helped him, went into his shed and pulled out his first bike, which was a beautiful old steel frame Miyata( I named her Shaquidda and will never sell her). That was when I was given the most impactful gift anyone has ever given me.

Its almost impossible to put into words how much I love cycling and how much it has changed my life. When riding my bike I am at total peace. Nothing else matters Im just in that moment. I can feel the world and everything thing in it. There are some things that are really hard to explain unless you have felt it for yourself, and that's why I encourage everyone to ride a bike. I remember the first time I rode around Downtown St Pete. It was sometime during the fall and I was sitting outside Starbucks drinking some morning coffee. I was looking around and listening to the city and realized that this place, as beautiful as it is to me right now, will never be the same. It will never be as beautiful to me as it was that day. It kinda upset me because knew I would never enjoy it as much as I did that first time. Ever since that day I have become determined to go out and see more of the world for the first time.

About 3 months ago I started having these thoughts and urges to leave everything go out and travel from my bike. Every time I closed my eyes I saw myself somewhere else. Soon the thoughts entered my everyday life. It felt like something was telling me to go. That's when I made the commitment to myself to just do it.

Since then I just started reading, researching cities, making a route, and selling everything (including almost all of my 20 road bikes). With the money Ive made from my bikes, I bought a passport, touring bike, and my plane ticket. The rest of my paychecks will go to racks/panniers/rain and winter clothing. So Im gonna be headed over there with basically no money except what gets donated to me. Any amount will help.

To me this is a spiritual journey and I am not afraid. There will probably be plenty of days I'll be hungry, but if I just keep going, stay optimistic, and help others things will work out. God has gotten me this far in life and I know with all my heart that I will not be forgotten now. It might be a struggle at times, but with every struggle in life greater growth comes from it. And I am willing to struggle for what I want and what I believe.

Thank you

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Charlie Forsyth 
St. Petersburg, FL
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