Shreveport:: Two men pedaling across the country in support of the Susan G. Komen Foundation pedaled into Shreveport on an L-shaped path from Maine to California just in time to watch the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl game with firefighters at Station 20.
“It was truly nice to be in Louisiana for that,” Paul Dorr, 48, of Rockland, Maine, said of the Saints’ victory.
He and Clint Valentine, 18, of Mansfield, Mass., traveled into Shreveport by way of Highway 1 after biking the scenic Natchez Trace Parkway. They expected to camp outside the city limits, but their stomachs dictated otherwise.
“We were looking for food and we didn’t find any for 60 miles,” Valentine said.
After eating, they approached the fire station hoping to get directions to a nearby place to camp Sunday night. Instead, they were invited inside to watch the game and pitch their tent in the station’s backyard.
The duo took a weather-related day off Monday, when they said the generosity continued. After changing three flat tires that morning, they made a pit stop at River City Cycling. Owner Ian Webb gave them new tubes, a tire, lights, hats and good conversation, Valentine said. Later that day, someone invited them into their home for a traditional Louisiana bowl of red beans and rice.
“We’ve had that happen countless times,” Dorr said. “It always seems to happen when you need it the most.”
Cash donations to breast cancer research also have poured in from people they’ve met along the way.
“I lost my mother to breast cancer a number of years ago,” Dorr said, explaining why he and Valentine chose this cause.
So far, they’ve raised nearly $5,000 from cash and online donations combined, and they’ve spent nearly that much of their personal money on food and other road-related expenses. They’re aiming to raise $20,000 by the time they make it to San Diego in late March, completing their estimated 5,000-mile journey.
Valentine, an Eagle Scout, found Dorr in a cycling forum online while looking for someone with whom to do a cross-country trip.
“I had to lower my standards of crazy,” Valentine said of the idea of the trip and the trip itself. “You really have to take it as it comes.”
After working together all summer on a windjammer, they spent two months planning their trip before departing Oct. 25.
Team Bowditch started with a third member who completed the first leg of her trip before leaving her teammates to work on a schooner named Nathaniel Bowditch — the team’s namesake.
Since then, the remaining two have spent the entire holiday season on the road. Holidays were prearranged to spend Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Eve with friends of friends who’d offered their homes, they said. Valentine even missed his Eagle Scout graduation. “They had it without me,” he said.