AS DAWN BEGAN to appear early Saturday, a Lodi geography teacher pushed off for a bike ride across America.
Greg Wright hopes to average 120 miles a day for 30 days on route to Boston — and that supporters will give as little as a penny a mile to fund equipment for the Lodi High School Track and Field program, in addition to one other educational organization.
“That’s all we ask, and I am hoping people will just say, ‘Oh that’s great — I’ll pitch in $10, $100, $1,000’ — whatever people are comfortable with,” he said. His more than 3,600-mile trip aims to make $10,000, and he’d already reached $3,942 as of Tuesday evening.
Wright, who is also one of Lodi High’s track and field coaches, was easy to pick out in the morning light in a fluorescent green jersey and black biking shorts as he coasted under the lights of the Lodi Mission Arch, a town landmark.
Wright committed to bicycle from his home to Boston to support Giving Opportunities to Kids or GOT Kids. Its mission is to provide opportunities outside of the classroom to help children explore their talents, interests, and skills.
All packed and caffeinated
Wright began his day inside his garage at 4:30 a.m. Anxiously rechecking everything he had packed for the trip.
“This morning comes and you’re like, ‘where is this, where is that,’” Wright said as he searched for a skin lubricant that helps prevent chafing. He was on his third cup of coffee.
Several bags and equipment were left inside the garage, waiting for Wright’s best friend, who would be carrying the gear in a car during the trip.
“To have somebody driving and bringing the things you need at night and then someone bringing you food, that’s just a huge help,” Wright said.
He said he would be wearing a helmet camera to document his journey, to keep those following him at home updated at LodiUSD on Instagram, the page for the Lodi Unified School District.
With so many miles to peddle, Wright said he had several activities in mind to keep him entertained, such as improving his Spanish with podcasts and listening to music.
“To have somebody driving and bringing the things you need at night and then someone bringing you food, that’s just a huge help.”Greg Wright
“There’s going to be a lot of Taylor Swift,” Wright said.
He said the first song by Swift that would be queued up would be “Love Story.” Her “Red” album is by far his favorite, he said.
Roughing it is for kids
Finding ways to pass the time on long bike rides is not something new, since he embarked on the same cross-country journey 37 years ago. He was 23 and attending college at the time.
“In 1986, a couple of buddies and I, Larry Rogero and John Goehring, we did it,” Wright said.
“There was no rhyme or reason — we just rode out, we did not go in a straight line … We did a total of 5,525 miles.”
Wright said he and his friends camped out on their trek. This time, he said his body can’t do that, so he’ll be resting in hotels.
His goal is to end the ride on July 4, in time to attend a Boston Red Sox game.
A website has been set up for people who want to donate to the fundraiser.
Victoria Franco is a reporter based in Stockton covering San Joaquin County for Bay City News Foundation and its nonprofit news site Local News Matters. She is a Report for America corps member.