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Entries in The Nature Conservancy (4)

Friday
Oct192012

11,900 Miller Miles!

David Miller and MaxOne year ago, David Miller, a 25-year industry veteran who’s worked with the Western Athletic Clubs (WAC), based in San Francisco, and Sport City, a premium Mexican chain, embarked on a unique and daunting undertaking—an attempt to bicycle through all 50 states during a single, continuous trip. How has Miller fared since then? And what’s up with his dog, Max? Where are they? What’s going on? … Well, just read on.

Click to read more ...

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.

Monday
Jan232012

3,320 Miles and (Still) Counting….  

By Craig R. Waters

If you’ve read past installments ofCBI Unbound,” you may have encountered the name David Miller.

And, if you did, I’m certain that you remember who he is—he’s definitely one-of-a-kind.

Miller is an industry veteran with nearly 25 years experience with, among others, the Western Athletic Clubs (WAC), based in San Francisco, and Sport City, a premium Mexican chain. On October 31, to mark his 50th birthday in a memorable way, he set out from Old Town San Diego, in California, to crisscross the U.S. by bike, intending to eventually visit all 50 states.

He positioned this extreme undertaking as a personal “challenge,” but also regards it as an opportunity to raise funds for four of his favorite charities—the American Heart Association (AHA), Cancer Research Institute (CRI), Nature Conservancy, and Kadima, a Jewish charity based in Mexico.

On October 20, we introduced Miller and described his imminent departure; and, on November 21, we reported that he and his companion—Max, a 5-year-old Weimaraner—and the two small trailers he’s towing behind his bike had safely reached Oracle, Arizona. 

Well, in the nearly two months since then, Miller and Max have crossed the entire country, covering a total of 3,320 miles (2,880 by bike and 440 by automobile). From Oracle, Miller made his way to Albuquerque, New Mexico, and then pedaled on to Taos and the Ghost Ranch, where artist Georgia O’Keefe did much of her work. Other points of interest have included Vicksburg, Mississippi, where he visited Civil War battlefields at the National Military Park; Port Gibson, Mississippi (a small town that General Ulysses S. Grant had spared because it was “too beautiful to burn;” and the breathtaking Natchez Trace Parkway.

“The eight day of riding from Pensacola Beach to Homosassa, Florida,” Miller tells us, “was spectacular with white dune beaches, evergreen forests, small seaside towns, and wonderful strangers who invited me home for dinner and a place to sleep.

Miller reports that he’s been equally impressed both by the rewards and the challenges his trip has presented:

“The most rewarding? The random acts of kindness,” he responds. “There are so many people out there who are willing to lend a hand, give you a ride (even with all of your gear) when things get ugly (cold, snow, rain, wind), invite you for dinner, offer you a place to stay, etc. It’s been great to be able to experience these fantastic moments.”

Miller, for instance, spent the Christmas holidays with a family in Port Gibson and New Year’s with the brother of a friend in New Orleans.

When it comes to challenges, the list is daunting:

• “The elements!...It doesn’t matter how often you confront wind, rain, or snow—it never gets easier.”

• “Hills—rolling hills. Again, it doesn’t seem to get easier. Actually, you learn to dislike them more and more.”

• “Dealing with having the dog with me.” Miller loves Max, but he, his trailer, and supplies weigh a lot; he dislikes spending time in the trailer; and motels that accept animals are hard to find.

Today, Miller is setting out from Sarasota, Florida, and is plotting a course that will eventually take him along the southeastern coast of Georgia. He hopes to reach Charleston, South Carolina, by February 1. “I can’t quite grasp the fact that I’ve already crossed the country once, and am about to embark on the second journey back west.”

Even though we’re just spectators, we find it equally incredible!

“CBI Unbound” will keep you informed of Miller’s progress, but you can also follow his remarkable adventure on his Website, bike50at50.com, or his blog, bike50at50.wordpress.com. Contributions acknowledging his effort 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.

Monday
Nov212011

364 Miles and Counting….

By Craig R. Waters

“Greetings from Oracle, Arizona!” – that was the beginning of an e-mail from David Miller, whom I introduced to you last month (October 20) in a posting headlined “Bike 50 at 50.”

As I explained then, Miller is an accomplished 25-year industry veteran—stints with, among others, the Western Athletic Clubs (WAC), based in San Francisco, and Sport City, a premium Mexican chain—who, to mark his 50th birthday, has embarked on a daunting adventure.

On October 31, the day after he turned 50, Miller and his dog, Max, cheered on by friends and family, set out from the Cosmopolitan Restaurant and Hotel in Old Town San Diego to crisscross the U.S., by bicycle, eventually visiting all 50 states. By last Thursday, November 17, they’d reached Oracle—some 364 miles as the crow flies, but they weren’t flying.

Miller was pedaling. And towing two small trailers—one for Max, a five-year-old Weimaraner, and one for supplies and equipment.

Miller, a lifelong and competitive athlete, regards the outing as a personal “challenge”; a chance to call the public’s attention to the importance of fitness; and a way to raise funds for four of his favorite charities—the American Heart Association (AHA), Cancer Research Institute (CRI), the Nature Conservancy, and Kadima, a Jewish charity based in Mexico.

Thus far, the trip has taken him, in California, from San Diego to Vista…to Hemet…to Morongo Valley…to Joshua Tree National Park…to Vidal Junction; and, on into Arizona, to Parker, Salome, Wickenburg, Mesa, Florence, and Oracle. Oracle, by the way, is a small unincorporated town sitting on the western slopes of the Santa Catalina Mountains that has a population of about 3,500, plus lots of horses and cattle.

From San Diego to Oracle, his grand tour has proven interesting, exciting, and enlightening, and provided more than enough “challenges” to satisfy Miller. They began his very first day on the road:

“I was on my way to Temecula,” he tells CBI Unbound. “It was late afternoon, and one of my trailers developed a flat on a winding uphill road that was busy with rush-hour traffic. I was repairing the tube, the sun was setting, and it was getting dark when a woman stopped to offer her help. She called her folks, and they came to pick me up in a flatbed truck. We loaded everything in, and I spent the night at their place.

“As I was changing the tire, I was dreading the idea of camping by the roadside. Never did I imagine that I’d have a hot shower and a warm bed, beer, and pizza—all in time for the second half of Monday night football!”

A similar situation occurred on his approach to Oracle:

“Even with all of my maps and instructions, I was sent down the wrong road, and wound up pedaling 22 extra miles…but I must have an angel or something looking after me. I had to get off the road before dark, so I started hitching, and a guy stopped—once again in a flatbed with room for everything. He drove 10 miles out of his way to get me to my destination. It was dark when I checked into a roadside motel with A-frame chalet bungalows, an incredible hot shower, and an Italian restaurant next door that had great lasagna.”

We’ll keep in touch with Miller…so stay in touch with CBI Unbound.