From Cape Cod to California, a Carver Man Is Cycling Over 3,000 Miles to Help Veterans
The distance between Carver, Massachusetts, and Huntington Beach California is approximately 3,450 miles.
On August 18th, Carver resident Jim Forand will be pedaling his bike from the East Coast to the West Coast to raise money for local veterans in need as well as the Nathan Hale Foundation, and is giving every last penny he earns. At the age of 63 years old, Forand is more prepared than he's ever been.
Let the record show, Forand is doing this out of the goodness of his heart and plans to ride his bike on average around 100 miles per day for 6 out of 7 days of the week.
Forand was first inspired to take on this long trek of journey by a friend, Chris Hart, whom he recently met over the years at Three Harts Farm in Plymouth. That's when he started getting involved with the Nathan Hale Foundation.
"Chris said it best- 'All my life I worked and have been successful, but I was fortunate to have all these things but never did anything for those who made this all possible: the veterans'. I just felt compelled to do something for them and this was the best way to do it."
The goal is $15,000 and Forand is already more than halfway there. You can read more about his donations and how to contribute here.
On top of an already long and challenging mission, Forand only has six weeks to complete his ride before he has to turn around and head back to work.
"I calculated the shortest and safest route I could find and it came out to 3,450 miles," Forand explained, "I plan on dipping my tire in Plymouth Bay near Plymouth Rock first before pedaling over to Three Harts Farm in Plymouth for a brief send-off party before hitting the road."
Although he's skilled and often rides 100 miles per day, there is one obstacle Forand is worried about.
"The chaffing will be my biggest concern," Forand said, "I have no problem riding 100 miles each day, the physicality is no problem, it's the chafing."
From Carver to Cali, Forand plans on staying off of as many busy roads as possible with the help of an app called Bike GPS- Ride Tracker. In regards to inclement weather, he says he welcomes the rain. Especially during the summer season when the temperature is hot. It's a simple yet effective way to cool down.
During his planning process, Forand was able to save up a bunch of hotel points (coincidentally, he's always traveling) so if there's a Hilton branch hotel along his route, he'll be able to stop to rest, shower, and grab a hot meal. However, once he reaches the Western part of the country, shortly after Kansas, he'll be stealth camping in a tent for the remainder of the trip. Saddlebags and a handlebar bag will provide Forand with only the necessities needed for the six-week bike ride.
Along the way, Forand's highlight of the trip will be a 240-mile-long gravel path called the Katy Trail, just west of St. Louis this will lead him into Clinton, Missouri, near Kansas.
"The company I work for is in Irvine, California, but my arrival goal is Huntington Beach," Forand continues, "My wife and I lived out there 30 years ago and there use to be a bicycle race called Race Across America and that's what initially got me into this trip. I was going to do it when I retired, but you don't know what life has in store. I'm feeling good, and have been doing a lot of bicycling, so this is the time to go."
Once he reaches his destination, he will then fly back to Carver and have his bike shipped. Forand comes from a strong military and first responder background family. His father and father-in-law both served in WW2 and both his daughter and daughter-in-law are police officers in New Bedford and Plymouth areas.
As for his wife, Donna, she's been supportive since day one, despite the time apart. She plans on flying out to California to meet him at the finish line.
"Eventually, when I said I'm doing this ride, she was worried about taking the time off so she decided to stay home instead," Forand said.
The couple met early on in life around 16 years old. Forand would bike from Acushnet to Carver to meet her and that's when his love for biking first came to light. Years later they are happily married with children who have grown and become successful and now Forand is about to take on the biggest challenge of his life.
Godspeed, good sir.