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Cross-Nation Rider Stops in Sarasota

Sarasota resident J.W. Frye stops in Sarasota Monday before embarking on the rest of his estimated 7,500-mile bike ride to benefit hospice.

Leg one is complete.

Only 7,000 miles, 18 states, two provinces and two territories to go.

J.W. Frye, who began a bicycle ride -- if one could call it that -- Feb. 23 in Key West, stopped Monday afternoon at in Sarasota.

The 27-year-old Sarasotan with friend Chris Christhuringer, also of Sarasota. The journey will end in about six months in Prudhoe, Alaska.

With food such as nutrition bars, a tent, stove and cell phone stuffed in black bags hanging from the steel bars of his Surly Long Haul Trucker bicycle, Frye took a break in his adopted hometown.

Though he felt slight joint pain, he said he felt physically strong. And Frye expects the emotions steeped in his gut for the love of hospice to fuel him up the eastern seaboard, through the midwest, across the Rockies, over the Canadian border, and, finally, to Alaska.

Both of Frye's parents died of cancer. But Frye was amazed at the care they received from St. Luke's Hospice in Bethlehem, Penn.

Like a typical six-month stay in a hospice, Frye has planned his ride to span six months. Just as hospice began exclusively with volunteers in the 1970s, so Frye will ride for no profit. He said he'll sell his equipment at the ride's conclusion and end his non-profit organization Let Me Go: One Bike, One Cause

What does Frye want the nation to know about hospice?

“If there's one overarching thing, it's how much life you can live and how many people you can affect, and how deep your experience can be, in six month's time,” Frye said outside of Ryder Bikes. “And hospice is preparing people for that journey every single day.”

Wednesday marked day six of his journey. He'd pedaled an estimated 430 miles, or about 45 hours. There are no days off.

“In a trip like this, you don't want to take days off as such, because your legs seize up,” Frye said. “So you want to ride.”

The second leg will end in Savannah. Ga, where Frye has friends. He has highlighted stops in Bethlehem, Penn. - his hometown – and Nashville, Tenn. as stops in which there will be benefit rides.

Frye said the entire ride will cost him $8,500, not to mention pain.

“Most of the pain you're going to feel is at the beginning of a leg after a rest period,” he said. “Once your body becomes adjusted, the pain actually dissipates. I'm not looking forward to the Rockies though.”

One this day, Frye sweated in the Sarasota sun once more. After all, he won't be home until next summer.

“I feel deeply connected to Sarasota,” Frye said. “From the moment I heard about it, I knew it was my hometown. It's a place that fills me with a lot of inspiration.”

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