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Monk on a Bike

$6,940 of $5,000 goal

Raised by 63 people in 16 months
Created December 15, 2017

  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.

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Getting ready to say Goodbye to NYC for now, and make my way towards the Great State of Maryland! There, I will begin to prepare for a return to Japan. Many thanks to everyone who has followed and supported ‘Monk on a Bike’ over these nearly 4000 miles! The fundraiser remains active; last minute donations very welcome!! Thank you!
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Sitting here, 17 floors above 72nd St. in Manhattan, in the apartment of an old friend, I begin to wind it all down. I will be on a bus tomorrow morning, bound for The Great State of Maryland, there to truly bring this episode of ‘Monk on a Bike’ to it’s conclusion. The ‘Trans-U.S. Zen Cyclequest’, which began in San Francisco on May 8th, reached the U.S. Capitol Building on July 28th, and ended on Manhattan Island four days ago, has left me with a whole lot of memories and experiences to sort through. This will take some time...
Abundant thanks go out to everyone who has followed and supported me over these past few months and nearly 4000 miles; you have helped me more than I can say!
I’m asked often what I took away from all this, what I learned along the way. Answers to these questions are many, and it is difficult to decide where to begin. I think the most resonant point, and it may sound melodramatic, is that The United States of America is alive and well, despite all the negative ‘this and that’ filling the news cycle every day. Everywhere I went, people offered words of support, extended a helping hand when one was needed, and kept me going. Even in places where I least expected it, this was overwhelmingly the case.
A man approached me in the Great State of Utah, with a 44 Magnum on his belt, and asked me where I was going. He listened, with evident skepticism, I thought, but said nothing, even after I had ended my explanation. I feared that such an obviously conservative (and well-armed...) character might not think much of a monk on a bike.... But then he pulled out an old leather wallet, took out a ten dollar bill, gave it to me and said ‘Git yourself somethin’ to eat!’ This is but one of many, many surprising meetings.
I ponder now where to ride next. I have several standing requests to pedal for excellent causes; for the moment, I let these ideas develop gradually in my mind.
The GoFundMe will remain active until I actually confirm my return to Japan, on the off chance that a few people who didn’t get around to donating, but would like to, can still donate!
Thanks again to everyone! And stay tuned; we aren’t quite finished yet!!

‘Monk on a Bike’
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So here we are... the morning of the final ‘Monk on a Bike’ ride - New York City. I didn’t sleep much... how could I? I will roll towards the ‘start line’, Battery Park, in about an hour, heading uptown at 10:00. Huge thanks to everyone who has followed and supported ‘Monk on a Bike’ since I rolled over the Golden Gate Bridge on May 8th!! On this final day, in this last push, I ask everyone who can to make a donation! The folks at Children’s Hospital are cheering me on, as I continue to cheer them on, wrestling all the while with the idea that.... the journey is finally, really... almost... over. But, enough of that..... Let Us Ride!!
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‘Monk on a Bike’, Manhattan: Can we do this?? Of course we can!!
Firstly, let me express a profound feeling of gratitude to everyone who has supported me since I rode across the Golden Gate Bridge on May 8th! The road brought an abundance of lessons, some very hard, and it was your encouragement that pulled me through the darkest patches.
There is one more ride to do, and it could well be the toughest... for good reason!
The final fundraising push for Children’s Hospital Foundation will begin this coming Sunday, from Battery Park, at the southern tip of Manhattan, rain or shine! I will ride up the West side to the Bronx , then come down Broadway, crossing to 5th Ave. below Central Park, passing the Empire State Building, easing East, finally coming to a halt in front of Veselka restaurant (my key sponsor) at the corner of 2nd Ave. and 9th Street, where the ‘Monk on a Bike’ ride will officially, finally, really... be OVER! The profound gratitude I feel for those who have supported me, for the immense compassion that has been extended to me across the country, cannot be overstated!! Thank U!!'
I ask no one to donate twice! I ask no one to donate if they cannot donate. That said, the $10,000 target is surely within reach; please spread the word! I intend to dig as deep as is required on the bike, physically and mentally, to make this last effort special! It will likely sting a bit... Let Us Ride!!!
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$6,940 of $5,000 goal

Raised by 63 people in 16 months
Created December 15, 2017
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