Pedaling coast to coast - WEEK.com: Peoria-area News, Weather, Sports

Pedaling coast to coast

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PEORIA, Ill. (WEEK) -

Jim Reading may seem like your average business owner in Peoria. 

"I said someday, ya know, I'm going to ride across the country," said Reading. 

Thanks to two maps, Jim Reading was able to make the trek from coast to coast.

"One day you wake up and you're 70 years old, and it's time," he explained. 

During the last week of February, he loaded up his bike and headed for California.

But this certainly was no selfish ride. 

Jim was trying to spread the word about Shriners Hospital for Children.

"It just came out in my head. I said, ' You know what all these people are asking me to sponsor them, but this is something big. It's not just Peoria," said the bike rider. 

Even though he doesn't know anybody who's used the hospital's services, once he heard about the hospital's work, he felt compelled to do something. 

"A lot of kids with a lot of courage. That's what kind of moved me toward that. These kids everyday get up and ride across the country," Reading told us. 

The days were long.

He averaged 60 miles per day, more or less.

He only took about seven days off.

"Just to clean your tent and spiff up a little bit. It's not every day you get to shower or shave. You try to find a water spigot to clean up a little bit. You are sleeping in the desert or wherever you can find a place. Mostly I slept in campgrounds," Reading shared.

His journey to the East Coast took him a little more than two months.

He saw the nation through a different lens. 

"Everyone in America was nice to me. I got better contact with people because they would reach out when they would see a bicycle coming up to the gas station to get a coffee. They don't know if you're rich or poor because you don't have your Mercedes or your fancy car pulling up," said Reading.

To see pictures from Jim's journey or to donate to Shriner's click here or click here to find out more about the hospital.


 

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