Southern Tier Special Bike Ride

$9,687 of $15,000 goal

Raised by 139 people in 27 months
Overview
#GoBeyondGiving
I successfully completed my self-supported ride across America on the Southern Tier Bicycle Route from San Diego CA to Key West FL to raise awareness and funds for Special Olympics through volunteer service and the love of traveling by bicycle. I traveled over 4,200 miles during 105 days with eleven Special Olympics awareness stops.

Using the power of social media, local, regional and national news outlets, grass roots momentum and a Go Fund Me campaign awareneness and funds were raised for eleven local and state Special Olympic organizations. Follow along
Southern Tier Special Public Facebook Group
Tomfoolery Outdoors Facebook Page
Tomfoolery Outdoors Instagram
Tomfoolery Outdoors YouTube

Volunteer service was a core element of this journey. I offered volunteer support to local and state Special Olympics organizations along my trip. My plan was to schedule service days in each state. Roles included officiating, announcer/emcee for events, concessionaire, skills clinic instructor, public speaking engagements, competition judge, training partner, awards and coach. Basically, whatever was most valuable to each organization.
Purpose
Use bike touring as a platform to raise awareness and funds to benefit local and state Special Olympic programs
Document the life and times of Special Olympic athletes and share my experiences as a volunteer
Build the Tomfoolery Outdoors brand encouraging people to Live Active, Laugh More, Inspire All.
Take advantage of this opportunity I have on earth to be adventurous.
Seek emotional, physical and spiritual growth.
Challenge my emotional, physical and spiritual being.
Share the love of bicycling and inspire all types of people to ride a bike more often. HAVE FUN!

Schedule
November 16 - April 16: Go Fund Me Campaign
January 9: Urban Yoga Retreat Send Off Party –
January 12: Leave for San Diego, CA
January 14: Volunteer service day with Special Olympics San Diego County World Games athlete Erik Weber.
January 15: Started journey in Ocean Beach, CA
January 21: Made it to Arizona
January 26: Special Olympics Peoria, AZ Basketball practices. Volunteer service day
January 30: Special Olympics Arizona Coronado Area Basketball and Cheer Competition. Volunteer service day
February 6: Made it to New Mexico
February 16: Special Olympics New Mexico Bowling event with Las Cruces Incredibles
February 20: Made it to Texas
March: Ottobock tour in Austin, TX
March: Cycling practice with Kyle Special Olympics, TX
March: Down Hown Ranch in Elgin, TX
April: Made it to Louisiana
April: BBQ Competition Judge with Special Olympics Louisiana in Hammond, LA
April: Made it to Mississippi
April: Ocean Springs High School Unified Special Olympics program, Ocean Springs MS
April: Made it Alabama
April: Made it Florida
April: Gainesville Special Olympics Area Games
April: End the R Word Assembly with Special Olympics Florida Miami, FL
May 1: Finish in Key West, FL with cyclists from Special Olympics Key West

Where the money goes?
Money is distributed to a Special Olympics organization in each of the eight states on the Southern Tier Route. States In addition, I will make a contribution to Miami County Special Olympics in my local area of Ohio. I managed this organization from 1998 to 2007 forming a personal connection with the athletes, families and volunteers that made this program one of the best in Ohio. This experience confirms the importance of sport and friendly competition in the lives of Special Olympians. A percentage of the funds will cover personal expenses, travel, gear and bike maintenance.

Learn more about Tomfoolery Outdoors and my previous adventures at www.tomfooleryoutdoors.com

Sincere appreciation

Your friend and adventurer
Tom Helbig

Live Active, Laugh More, Inspire All
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I would like to wish you a fun, adventurous, happy and loving holiday season. It is hard to believe this time last year I was making plans for my Southern Tier Bike Trip Across America. Man, what a year it has been! The lessons, inspiration, joy, personal growth, struggles, generosity, stories and appreciation for all people that I gained from the journey will live with me forever. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think of my bike trip. I am so grateful for your support and wanted to make sure you saw the short film about the journey. There is so much beauty in the film. Our efforts really made a difference in the lives of Special Olympic athletes across the country. Please share it with others in your network. I am closing my fundraising efforts on December 31 and hope to reach the $15,000 goal. We can make an even greater difference in the lives of those with disabilities through sport. Again, a big virtual high five and hug for your support and generosity. https://www.facebook.com/tomfooleryoutdoors/videos/674312892732435/
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This is one of my favorite photos from the journey. It shows the overwhelming support and love I am receiving on my ride. My friends at the Down Home Ranch in Elgin, Texas gave me an unforgettable send-off after two days on the ranch. It is a working farm and ranch that employees 80 people including 40 with intellectual disabilities. I am so proud to be a voice for and friends with amazing programs like the Down Home Ranch. I recently made it to Florida and will travel along the panhandle through Gainesville, FL and eventually St. Augustine, FL on the Atlantic Coast. I will turn right and head south down the Atlantic Coast to Key West, FL. There is still a lot of work to do on the bike, through volunteer service and fundraising. I am so thankful for all of the support you have offered. However, we are still short of the $15,000 goal. I appreciate any help you can offer in spreading the word within your networks to help reach that goal. Your donation literally could change the life of an individual with intellectual disabilities like Melissa who I witnessed ride a bicycle in Kyle, TX for the first time in 15 years since her Cerebral Palsy has progressed.
Down Home Ranch Send Off, Elgin TX
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I take every moment I can to reflect on where I have been on this journey and where I am headed. It is such a powerful and humbling feeling to sit in a beautiful spot like White Sands, AZ and think of the positive effects of this journey. That wouldn't be possible without the generosity of each one of you! Cheers everyone. Ride Tomfoolery Ride
White Sands National Monument, AZ
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Thought you might like to see some of my milestone dates so far on this journey. Thanks a million to all of you for supporting my efforts.

Schedule
November 16 - April 16: Go Fund Me Campaign
January 9: Urban Yoga Retreat Send Off Party –
January 12: Leave for San Diego, CA
January 14: Volunteer service day with Special Olympics San Diego County World Games athlete Erik Weber.
January 15: Started journey in Ocean Beach, CA
January 21: Made it to Arizona
January 26: Special Olympics Peoria, AZ Basketball practices. Volunteer service day
January 30: Special Olympics Arizona Coronado Area Basketball and Cheer Competition. Volunteer service day
February 6: Made it to New Mexico
February 8-11: Rest days in Silver City, NM
When the time is right!: Finish in Key West, FL
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Read a Previous Update
Ronnie Lazar
25 months ago
1
1

Met Tom today at Tucson special olympics basketball event. What a great guy!

+ Read More
Parker Sandy
21 months ago

We met Tom right after he completed his ride at the southernmost point in Key West. He is an inspiration! What an accomplishment! His parents were so proud! Congratulations again Tom!!

+ Read More
Barbara J. Hill
24 months ago

I met Tom yesterday at the top of the San Agustin Pass just above White Sands National Monument, New Mexico. We passed him climbing the mountain and could not believe that when he arrived at the lookout he was not out of breathe and had a huge smile and wonderful presence. He is so inspiring and will look forward to supporting his goal and following his progress to Florida.

+ Read More

$9,687 of $15,000 goal

Raised by 139 people in 27 months
Created November 14, 2015
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JI
$50
John Israel
16 months ago (Offline Donation)
CS
$100
City of Springboro
16 months ago (Offline Donation)
AO
$100
Aaron Ortner
21 months ago

Tom, I am glad to give to your campaign to support the special Olympics. What an amazing experience your cross country trip must have been. Great job!

VM
$100
Vince and Barb moore
22 months ago

You are the MAN!! Tom

&B
$100
'Sam', Rick & Vikki Brown
22 months ago

CONGRATULATIONS on completing your coast-to-coast ride and raising awareness for all People with Special Needs

Ronnie Lazar
25 months ago
1
1

Met Tom today at Tucson special olympics basketball event. What a great guy!

+ Read More
Parker Sandy
21 months ago

We met Tom right after he completed his ride at the southernmost point in Key West. He is an inspiration! What an accomplishment! His parents were so proud! Congratulations again Tom!!

+ Read More
Barbara J. Hill
24 months ago

I met Tom yesterday at the top of the San Agustin Pass just above White Sands National Monument, New Mexico. We passed him climbing the mountain and could not believe that when he arrived at the lookout he was not out of breathe and had a huge smile and wonderful presence. He is so inspiring and will look forward to supporting his goal and following his progress to Florida.

+ Read More
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