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Thursday
Mar082012

David Miller is Just Getting Started!

By Craig R. Waters

When we last checked in with David Miller, on January 22, he’d traveled a total of 3,320 miles—2,880 by bike and 440 by automobile—from Old Town San Diego, in California, to Sarasota, Florida. In the 47 days since then, he and his faithful sidekick, Max, a five-year-old Weimaraner, have logged an additional 1,790 miles—1,680 by bike and 110 by car—bringing them to Atlanta, Georgia.

That gives them a grand total, thus far, of 5,110 miles—4,560 on pedal power and 550 on gasoline.

…and the trip’s just begun!

You may recall that Miller, a 25-year industry veteran who’s worked with, among others, the Western Athletic Clubs (WAC), based in San Francisco, and Sport City, a premium Mexican chain, decided to mark his 50th birthday last October in a one-of-a-kind way: by embarking on a bike tour that would eventually take him to all 50 states.

His goals: to mark the 50-year milestone; to call attention to the importance of physical activity; and to raise funds for his four favorite charities, the American Heart Association (AHA), Cancer Research Institute (CRI), Nature Conservancy, and Kadima, a Jewish charity based in Mexico.

David MillerWell, he’s accomplished a great deal in terms of his first objective, and made a bit of headway with respect to the other two. He’ll certainly never forget this year of his life, the amazing places he’s visited, and the kind, generous, and remarkable people he’s met. “Recently,” he tells CBI Unbound, “I was introduced to a network of long-distance cyclists who offer refuge—a bed, a shower, a good meal—to fellow cyclists. I’ve been welcomed into their group with open arms.”

Before embarking on his adventure, Miller had reached out to media, hoping to obtain coverage to help spread his message and generate some contributions. Initially, he had some success: spots on television (TV Azteca, Cadena Tres, Fox Sports Mexico); magazine articles (SportLife, Men’s Health Mexico); and newspaper features in Buffalo, New York (Miller’s hometown). But, since then, the coverage has been a bit spotty.

One glowing exception was a story aired by WYFF Channel 4 in Greenville, South Carolina. The two-and-a-half-minute news clip showed Miller and Max to be in great shape, and gave Miller a chance to communicate his message clearly:

“It’s important that people are moving, that they’re active,” he said. “Whether you ride your bike to work, or whether you ride your bike around the corner, or whether you ride across the 50 states—it doesn’t matter: whatever’s within your capabilities. The idea is to get out and do something. It’s not an aesthetic thing—it’s not about ‘How good do I look in the mirror?’ It’s a question of ‘How good do I feel?’ So the message is just try to do something.”

It’s a message that every club owner, operator, and fitness professional understands.

If you'd like to see the video, click on the following link: 50-Year-Old Bicyclist Takes 50 State Tour

“The piece was not only broadcast on the station’s 5 p.m. news, but was also picked up by Yahoo and, then, by an affiliate station in Philadelphia,” says Miller. “The response has been amazing! I've been receiving emails from all over the country. And, just today, Univision, the Spanish-language network contacted me to do a piece once I arrive in Los Angeles.”

Thus far, Miller’s efforts have raised $1,900 for his charities. “That's not a lot of money,” he acknowledges, “but that should also change as we continue to receive more media exposure."

At the moment, Miller and Max are on the road, heading for Chattanooga and Nashville, Tennessee, before turning towards Missouri and southern Kansas. Keep in touch with CBI Unbound for updates on their progress.

Editor’s Note: You can also follow Miller on his Website, bike50at50.com, or his blog, bike50at50.wordpress.com. Bike50at50 contributions can be made directly to the designated charities.

- Craig R. Waters is the editor-in-chief of CBI and can be reached at c.waters@fit-etc.com.

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