COAST TO COAST, FOR A GOOD CAUSE
Trio raises awareness of eating disorders on epic ride across U.S.
With an impending graduation and no job lined up, John Windsor sat in his apartment at St. Mary’s College and listened to his old high school friend pitch him an idea of traveling across the country on a bike.
Hours later that January night, Windsor and Jonathan Zorn, who were classmates at St. Paul’s School, were already planning out their journey on a large map of the country — a trip that would take them from the wooded coastline of Oregon, through the flat Midwest and all the way to the rolling hills of Virginia.
The pair had never been on a bike trip longer than three days. Still, with a love of the outdoors — and no job lined up after school — Windsor needed little convincing.
They were joined by Raphael Mcgowan, a 28-year-old from Australia who Zorn met while studying abroad, and on July 23 the trio embarked on a 4,500 mile cross-country trip that lasted until Oct. 8.
“There is nothing out there but wilderness for miles and miles,” Windsor said. “It’s a nice feeling that just gives you a peace of mind.”
But the trip wasn’t just for pleasure. Windsor, who had family members struggle with eating disorders over the past year, decided to use the trip to raise awareness for the Johns Hopkins Eating Disorders Program.
By sending out support letters, contacting friends through Facebook and creating a blog about his trip, Windsor raised more than $10,000 for the program, which will go toward research and patient analysis.
The journey also helped raise support for a group Mcgowan knew in Australia called beyondblue, which helps people battling depression.
“I knew I wanted to do it for a cause,” Windsor said. “The money I’m raising is great, but the awareness I’m raising is just huge. I don’t know why, but it’s an issue that’s just swept under the carpet. It’s an issue that needs to be solved.”
The bicyclists started preparing in the spring by training, speaking with experts and local bike shops, and researching bike maintenance.
They decided to take the TransAmerican Trail, a path created by the Adventure Cycling Association. The 4,262-mile route starts in Astoria, Ore., and ends in Yorktown, Va. The group altered the plan by taking a few detours — such as visiting St. Louis — and they ultimately rode all the way to Virginia Beach to literally go from coast to coast.
After a few weeks of training, the three flew out to Oregon in late July. Using racks attached to their bikes, they each packed a tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, one clean
John Windsor, left, and Jonathan Zorn launch their cross-country trip at the edge of the Pacific Ocean. Above left, Raphael Mcgowan, left, Zorn and Windsor take a break from biking.