(Image courtesy Steve Murphy)
A South Boston man is currently pedaling his way across the United States to raise money for Bikes Not Bombs, a Jamaica Plain-based non-profit.
Steve Murphy, who resides with his fiancée on Columbia Road, started his solo journey from Seattle on July 9.
The 43-year-old will travel an estimated 4,200 miles before he hits the Atlantic Ocean in Ogunquit, Maine, sometime in September.
“I always thought this would be a great way to see the country,” Murphy recently told Boston.com by phone while taking a break in North Dakota.
The Concord native has lived in South Boston since 2007 and has volunteered with Bikes Not Bombs, which works to introduce city youths to cycling, since 2010.
“I love what they do, and working with them is extremely rewarding,” Murphy said. “The programs they offer have an immediate and direct impact on the kids that participate. I love how a kid can come in, know nothing about bikes, and in a few weeks know how to ride a rebuild a bike.”
Although Murphy has plenty of motivation to make it through the country, he will still face a number of challenges along the way, from the Great Plains to the Catskills.
“The mountains can be tough, but once you get to the Plains the wind picks up and it can really affect your mileage,” he said. “With a good tailwind you can do 90 miles in a day, but if it’s going against you it can kill your m
ileage and attitude.”
Murphy has already made it past the western mountain ranges and said while they were difficult, he is most concerned with the mountains along the East Coast leading into Maine.
“Getting through the Cascades was tough, but they are just not as steep as what you see in New England or New York,” he added.
With 50 pounds of gear loaded onto his bike, Murphy is roughing it during his journey, camping along the route and meeting companions as he goes.
“It’s not exactly Outward Bound, but you are more in tune with your basic life needs,” Murphy explained. “There can be stretches where there is nothing and you worry about water and food and are a lot more aware of your surroundings.”
People he’s met during his trip have been welcoming, even inviting him in for meals. Murphy said his fiancée has also been behind him 100 percent, meeting up with him in Montana and soon in Michigan.
“It’s a lot to ask, but she’s been very supportive,” he said. “This has been something that I’ve been talking about for a while and it really took some time to put together.”
When not cycling across the country, Murphy said he likes to spend his time at Thomas Park with his dog, a Mastiff named Amos, or biking around town. He said he also tries to commute by bike to his job in Canton as a machine technician, as much as possible.
Murphy has set a fundraising goal of $11,000 and as of Monday has risen just over $7,000.
More information about how to donate can be found here.
He also has an online journal chronicling his journey, which can be found here.