It look's like you don't have Adobe Flash Player installed. Get it now.
65 year old Frank Briscoe completed a bike ride across the United States in early October to raise money for multiple sclerosis research. KSMU’s Samuel Crowe met with Briscoe in a Joplin bike shop, and has this report.
Briscoe, also known as the “Old guy on a bicycle”, gave up his longtime passion of jogging after knee reconstruction in 1999 and a colon resection. An owner of a billiard business by trade, he took up cycling six years ago, and soon thereafter wanted to try cycling long distance. He took a shot at a 100 mile ride that benefitted multiple sclerosis research at the suggestion of a friend, and completed it. Afterwards, an excited Briscoe went to the evening program, and heard a powerful speech delivered by a victim of multiple sclerosis.
“What was best of all, she said prior to the treatment that she’d received and the drugs, she was confined to a wheelchair with very little movement, and legally blind. She said ‘As you see tonight, I walked up onstage under my own power, and though I can’t see you clearly out there I can see you all. But the best thing of all this that I can now hug my grandchildren.’ I was hooked,” Briscoe said.
Briscoe has been raising money for multiple sclerosis ever since. Early in 2011, Briscoe was looking for a way to celebrate his 65thbirthday, and at the advice of a long-time mentor, decided he needed to follow his dream of biking across the United States while he still had good health.
By October 4th, Briscoe had biked 5,275 miles in 126 days, starting in Yorktown, Virginia and biking to San Francisco for the first stage. The second stage took Briscoe from the San Juan Islands of Washington state to the Florida Keys. From there, Briscoe finished his journey in Richmond, Virginia. I asked Briscoe what it felt like when he finally completed his journey.
“It was a combination of jubilation and emptiness. I go ‘wow, it’s taken me 126 days to cover 6,000 miles, and every day I’m getting up and I’m riding 4-10 hours a day. What am I going to do now?’’ Briscoe said.
Briscoe’s voyage hit a speed bump in Carson City Nevada. A motor home bumped Briscoe into a curb, causing him to land on his head in the middle of the road.
“As I was going down I go ‘Oh my goodness I am going to get run over because it’s rush hour traffic.’ But thankfully the gal who was behind the motor home evidently saw what happened, and she managed to stop. Not only did she stop but she pulled diagonally in the street, forcing everybody else to stop. Basically she probably saved my life,” Briscoe said.
This was one of many acts of kindness Briscoe witnessed during his ride across the country. Long lost friends sagged for him down the California coast from Washington, meaning they spent hours driving behind him on the highway. Random strangers offered him a place to stay and food to eat, and he was even granted access to fire departments and city halls when camping wasn’t an option.
“The beauty, really, is in the people of America. The flip side of that, many communities I rode through I saw empty homes, empty buildings, our infrastructure is crumbling, but the American spirit is still there, it’s strong, and it’s really heartwarming to see,” Briscoe said.
Briscoe has plans for another long distance bike trip next summer. He’s considering the Great River Trail from the headwaters of the Mississippi River to New Orleans, or a ride across Wisconsin and Michigan. The next ride, like his last one, will raise money for multiple sclerosis. So far, Frank has raised $10,700, primarily through his website which he updated during his cross-country ride. He says he’s inching closer to his goal of $15,000. For KSMU News, I’m Samuel Crowe.
For more information on Briscoe’s journey and how to make a donation, visit his website at www.oldguyonabicycle.com.