Welcome to Cycling for Leader Dogs.

Cycling for Leader Dogs is a trans-America solo bicycle tour from Portland, Oregon to Portland, Maine. The goal of this effort is to increase awareness and raise money in support of Leader Dogs for the Blind.

Follow us on FACEBOOK. Keep track of Lion Mark's progress through his ONLINE CYCLING JOURNALS.
Curious what his route will be? Take a look at the the TRIP ROUTE MAP. Have questions? Send Lion Mark an EMAIL.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Planning, planning and more planning.

With the trip less than four months away (departure date is June 16th), there is a lot of planning to get accomplished.  Trip route planning, club contacts, written communications, fundraising strategies, equipment preparations and of course lots of training to get done.

Here is an update on some of the progress being made.  One of the first tasks to work on was coming up with a trip logo and ordering sponsorship pins.  My daughter Jessie (a designer by training) helped produce the sponsorship pin.  With the help of pinpros.com, we were able to get the initial order of these pins underway.  The pins should arrive in the next few weeks.  With a 3,500 mile trip, anyone who provides a one cent per mile sponsorship (or at least $35 donation) will receive a pin.  To meet our goal, we will need to secure 1,086 individual "one penny per mile" sponsors to surpass our $38,000 target.

The next task in the communications department was to design a card (baseball cards size) to hand out to people to explain the trip and what we are raising money for (Leader Dogs for the Blind).  Additionally, these cards can be handed out along the journey to quickly communicate to people what we are working to accomplish.

We have also been working on getting this blog up and running so those interested will be able to follow our progress.  The web address for this site was also secured (www.CyclingForLeaderDogs.org) so people can easily find the site and join the cause.  My wife Debbie will also be working on creating a Cycling for Leader Dogs Facebook page as well, so stay tuned for this addition.  She will also be the keeper of the blogs once I am on the road as well as taking care of all the long distance trip logistics.

Within our club, we are busy organizing ourselves into roles and responsibilities.  Lion Steve and Lions Ken and Judy are leading the way with this work.  Lion Steve will be serving as the liaison to all the clubs that will be joining the effort.  This could include trip support, individual or club sponsorship or even "ride alongs" to support Leader Dogs.  He is also working to arrange local club visits for me and scheduling a presentation on the trip at our upcoming district convention.  Lions Ken and Judy will be leading the way by being our press contacts for the local media.  All three of these fellow Lions are real connectors, so I am sure they will be keeping me very busy!

We are also in continual contact with Leader Dogs and the great folks in their philanthropy department.  Mike Dengate as well as Kathleen Breen, Melissa Weisse, Brad MacKenna, Kathy Gilchrist and Ashley Picklo have all been super supportive and excited about the trip.  I have been impressed with the Leader Dog team as well as very appreciative of their support in getting us going.  We will be holding our second teleconference in a few days to go over the planning progress and collaborate on our next steps.

Finally, there has been a lot going on behind the scenes to get ready.  First there continues to be lots of training to be ready for the trip.  My wife and I just got back from twelve days cycling around the big island of Hawai'i.  Yes, I know, it's a tough job but we put in more than 300 miles on the bikes in very diverse conditions and elevations.  Some might call it a vacation, we are just calling it a "training ride".

I am also putting in lots of running as I have several races scheduled this spring.  Last but not least, I am making some significant changes to my bicycle that will make the trip much more efficient and safe.  I will discuss these changes in future posts so you will just have to come back for more information on that subject.

I'm thinking that is all for now.  Happy cycling!



  1. You leave us in awe here at Leader Dog, Mark. Thank you for your example! -Brad McKenna

  2. Design of your lapel pins is so creative i like it so much. Most pins today are custom designed, which has grown to be a popular tool for branding and marketing............!!