April 15, 2007
Reported By: Lee Peck
46-year-old Mark Maund is a long way from home. The New Jersey native is going the distance... a very long distance.
"I'm on a 15,000 mile bike tour of the United States perimeter and the six Canadian territories," explained Mark.
His journey began in July 9, 2005 from the Bulkhead in Keyport, New Jersey. Averaging 40 to 45 miles per day, Mark's goal is to complete his North American Cycling Expedition in three years.
"I rode to Key West and back out to Miami and across the Everglades to Naples, Florida and then up the northwest coast of Florida to Biloxi, Mississippi," said Mark.
With every mile he's raising awareness for three charities, two which involve Gulf Coast recovery and the other in memory of a friend lost on September 11th.
"Betty Ong she was an airline stewardess on Flight 11, which was the first plane that crashed into the world Trade Center," said Mark.
Through his travels he's met hundreds of people and stayed just about every place you can imagine. "I've stayed in hotels, churches, fire houses, camp grounds, state parks. I've had personal invites to people's houses," explained Mark.
While weather poses a daily hazard, Mark says there's other threats lurking out there. "I've seen road signs that have said: 'black panther crossing next 8 miles, alligator crossing next five miles, bob cat crossing.' Just like the signs have been really interesting."
Mark admits life on the road can be lonely, but says he's comforted by the scenic view. "I think the one thing that I really enjoy the most during the ride is seeing the sunrises and the sunsets at night. To have the opportunity to see them across water, across fields or farms is just amazing."
With each day comes a new challenge. For Mark he's living out his dream through each adventure. "I advise anyone that if they have a dream in their life that they want to pursue -- not to be scared of what the outcome or whatever it might take to do it, but to live your dreams and just to pursue them."
Mark hopes to complete his journey on September 11, 2008 at the World Trade Center site in New York City. He then plans to write a book about his experiences on the road.