In early September, Roger Grooters clipped in for what was planned as a cross-country journey from Ocean Beach, California, to Jacksonville, Florida. His goal for the trip: to use his bike to raise money for the victims of the Gulf Coast oil spill. While for many, the horrible effects of the spill were rapidly fleeting in the rearview mirror of the national media's collective focus, Grooters was embarking on a 3,200-mile, cross-country journey, raising money for a cause that, as a Gulf Coast resident, was now more important than ever. With a route that hugged the coastline, Grooters saw first-hand the devastation wrought by the spills with each day on the bike.
"The loss of these natural resources has caused a loss of jobs and for some a loss of a way of life. The need for help is real and is great," wrote Grooters on the blog he kept during his journey.
Tragically, on October 6, nearly a month into his journey and just 200 miles from his final destination, Grooters was struck and killed by a local motorist. While marked by a desperately sad close to a hope-inspiring journey, Grooter's story, if nothing else, serves to remind us of the bike's power to do good in the world, especially when coupled with individuals like Roger Grooters.
For those who wish to donate to Grooter's cause, follow the instructions on his blog, located here.