Hello! Welcome to our first blog post! This is Kam, all blog posts will be written by me :).
By now you have probably heard two things.
1. This is our final year of "Bike for Kam" :(
2. For the first time I will "biking" the 500 miles from San Francisco-to-Santa Monica.
How is this happening? I have some amazing people who hand built me a rig, that is how!
This will be Bike for Kam's 5th and final year of biking cross country for HIBM (aka, GNE Myopathy). We began as a tiny group in 2011. At the time I moved to San Francisco for work, away from the non profit advocacy work I was doing for ARM (our beneficiary) in LA. One day a friend posted an idea of doing an epic cross country coastal bike tour across California - for no reason other than it was a great challenge. I immediately messaged him and pitched the idea of using his trip as a vehicle to fundraise for my rare muscle condition. He was ecstatic of the thought of giving this adventure greater purpose and soon this seed of an idea rapidly morphed into what is Bike for Kam today.
Five years seems so long ago, and five year ago none of us know what we were doing, which was part of the excitement. I had never ran a charity project all by myself, let alone organized a full on cross country tour. I had never built my own website, fundraised via social media nor put together a promotional campaign. I didn't have experience with logistics planning but soon I was going to learn. I promised my friends I would take care of all the building and planning of the project and all they had to do was ride - it was a match made in heaven. From home I worked night and day putting an entire fundraising campaign together, we launched and had an extremely successful, and safe, first ride. It was incredible.
I was so grateful to my friends, family and strangers who kindly donated to us that I wanted to give something back in return. I wanted them to feel like they were a part of the ride so for the 8 days my friends were on the road I live blogged their stories, adventures and pictures from my home computer. One of the most common phrases I heard from my friends in 2011, and every year after was, "I wish Kam was here with us. I wish Kam could see this". There is something beautiful about sharing and though in many ways I felt like I was there with them in every mile they pedaled, it most certainly was not the same as physically being there.
I consider myself spontaneous and an adventurist at heart and I credit some of this perspective to HIBM. I love trying new things like skydiving, parasailing and if I can be traveling or on a road trip to see the grand beauty of nature, then I'm all in. HIBM has pushed me to enjoy these snippets of adventure and new experiences as if it was the first and last time. In 2011 when I began Bike for Kam I was still walking and standing, today I can no longer walk or even stand and now my upper extremities (shoulders, arms, fingers, hands and neck) have begun to rapidly deteriorate. Life is indeed short, you have to enjoy every bit of it.
Fast forward to today and our final year of Bike for Kam. We tossed around the idea of building a rig that could be pulled for 500 miles but "how?", "who?" and…"how?". Who was going to take on such a big initiative and who was going to lead this effort? Fortunately, I had a friend step forward with a plan. My friend Markham came up with a plan and asked friends in manufacturing/fabrication industry if they would be interested in helping. Markham and I are actually both Industrial Designers and went to the same Art & Design college in Detroit, Michigan though we were in different programs and not close friends at the time. We knew of each other in college but it wasn't until we both independently moved to California and Bike for Kam that we would truly become friends. Unbeknownst to me Sara, Marham's then girlfriend, now wife, followed my blog and Bike for Kam for a couple years. In 2013 we took a break from cross country and began shorter LA to San Diego rides…where Sara and Markham happened to live. They both joined us in 2013 and have been Bike for Kam riders ever since. This will be there very first cross country tour. It's funny how lives intertwine and connect at different stages.
I'm extremely grateful to Markham's commitment in making this dream a reality. He has led the charge and rallied resources in San Diego to make it happen and I'll never be able to thank him enough. He has worked countless hours, nights and weekends to pull this all together. Markham isn't just a talented Industrial Designer but he can fabricate and manufacture just about anything so most all the parts on the rig are hand made from Markham's own garage. Because of him and all the rig contributors I will be "biking" 500 miles in 22 days with my friends! Though I have seen the length of California coast and Big Sur, seeing it at the speed of a bicycle will be an amazing and unforgettable experience. You miss a whole lot when you view the world from a car.
With that I would love to personally thank all those who were involved in building this rig!
(click logos below to connect to their Facebook page)
Thanks to 3DYN, a full service fabrication and machine shop based in San Diego!
Thanks to Coastal Enterprises, a “innovator and leading manufacturer of urethane products used for dimensional signage, model making, marine applications and a variety of tooling applications.” based in Orange, CA!
Thanks to All Wheel Engineering, LLC, Manufacturers of the world famous Kartboy Short Shifters, Bushings, Endlinks and more!
Thanks to SD Wheel Works Bicycle Garage, a wonderful bike shop in San Diego, CA!
And last but not least, Thanks again to Markham and his friends David Gopp, TJ Harmon and Justin Schock for building me this sweet ride!!!
We have 22 days until we begin this adventure and currently at $14,955 of our 35K fundraising goal. If you can share and contribute, please do! All proceeds benefit HIBM medical research and development.