Monk on a Bike

  I grew up in a Maryland suburb of Washington D.C
., an only child, and the road bicycle which my father gave me on my 12th birthday turned out to be a far more important gift than he could ever have imagined.  A cancer scare some time ago served to solidify my resolve to put bike riding to use in an expression of outreach and compassion.  I decided to ride across the U.S. as 'Monk on a Bike', from San Francisco to Washington D.C., speaking to people about my experiences, and visiting Zen communities and temples as well as ordinary folks.   'Monk on a Bike' will also be riding in support of  'Children's Hospital Foundation', Washington, D.C.  

  I became a monk at a temple near Tokyo, and my nearly eight years of subsequent Zen training has taught me a lot about myself, and about the core essence of the word 'compassion'; the time has come to put it all together, and take it on the road! 

The 'Monk on a Bike' Charity Campaign will enable me to do just that, by helping me to defray the considerable cost of the undertaking, and to cover expenses.  These will include:
            ~ Airfare from Japan to and from the U.S.
            ~ Average daily expenses (food and hydration),
                 accommodation (campground, hostel or
                 inexpensive hotel). 
            ~ Allowance for routine bike maintenance,           
               medical supplies, communication costs, etc. 

In terms of the 'Average Daily Allowance', I set a conservative overall estimate at $50.00.   

  I am not factoring in the cost of the bicycle, currently at 120,000 Japanese yen (about $1100.00), which was custom built for 'Monk on a Bike' by me and my colleague, the cost of cycling-specific clothing, or the requisite materials needed to ensure that the bicycle makes it safely to San Francisco and back to Japan from  Washington, D.C. (e.g. airplane-ready packing). 

  Admittedly, some of the equipment choices for the bike and the rider could have been somewhat cheaper; that is why they are not included.  A conservative estimate of the basic costs necessary to allow me to carry out the 'Monk on a Bike Trans U.S. Zen Cyclequest and Charity   Drive' outreach looks like this:
                       $50.00/Day x 70 days.....  $3500.00
                       $ 2 One-way air tickets.... $1500.00
                                                                 Total ....$ 5000.00   

  Additional funds raised once my costs have been covered will be donated to:
                            'Children's Hospital Foundation'
                                          Washington, D.C.

  Though I will only be donating directly to this one hospital, the affiliation thus created will give me good reason to visit other Children's Hospitals within reach of my route, to offer a simple greeting as a gesture of support.

  I estimated the ride duration at 70 days, but whether I will make it in that time I cannot say.   It surely won't be less than 70 days, but it could easily be longer.  

  Donations of any amount will be sincerely appreciated; spiritual donations too will be received with great gratitude.  I look forward to having you ride alongside me every mile of the way, right from wherever you are!
  My mother having passed away when I was five, loneliness was a constant companion during my youth.  In cycling, I found a way to befriend that loneliness, to put it to work as a kind of spiritual healer, and have ever since had a road bike by my side. I currently live in Jomanji Soto Zen temple in Tokushima, Japan, about four kilometers from the Pacific coast, and nestled against the mountains.    
  As I prepare to make some important decisions regarding my next steps along the Zen road, this outreach will serve as a beacon in the mist, and the journey across the country of my birth will be a spiritual advisor of the highest order.  Admittedly, I have no previous experience with fundraising; I will be obliged to learn as I go, adrift on the Sea of Light...   Fortunately though,  I do have abundant faith in the altruistic nature of the human heart! 

                                               Let us Ride!!

                                    On the Sea of Light

            Monk on a Bike may have always existed
                            He may never have existed
       He may be a prophet from an alternate universe,
                     The frozen core of a long dead star,
                       That ever elusive Ray of Hope...
                         Or he may just be some fool,
              Sowing seeds of clarity and compassion
                        Along a stretch of open road...
                           Whatever the case may be,
        The time has come to speak of Monk on a Bike.

  • Anonymous 
    • $250 
    • 30 mos
  • Geoffrey Burrell-Sahl 
    • $150 
    • 30 mos
  • Tom Birchard 
    • $250 
    • 30 mos
  • Hugh Jeram Croft 
    • $25 
    • 31 mos
  • Dean Commins 
    • $25 
    • 45 mos
See all

Organizer and beneficiary

Simon Gregory Filson 
Germantown, MD
Jonathan Filson