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, March 18, 2012

Mid-March Update - March 18th, 2012

Eighty-nine days sounds like a long time.  A bit under fourteen weeks sounds a bit shorter.  Less than three months sounds even shorter.  These are all different ways to express the time between now and my departure on the trans-America trip.  It seems like ages ago when I sat my wife Debbie down last November and told her that I wanted to make this trip a reality, but it actually wasn't that long ago.

My point to all this rambling is that June 16th will be here very quickly.  The part of me that loves to just get on my bike and ride is saying, "Bring it on!  I can't wait to get the trip underway."  The other part of me that is highly motivated to accomplish the main focus of the trip to increase awareness and raise funds for Leader Dogs is saying, "There is so much to do in order to do this well and so little time to get everything done."  Hurry up, slow down, hurry up,... and so on it goes.

My fellow Lions Club members have been super supportive with our planning.  In fact, I think many of them are more excited than I am which I really appreciate.  They keep me going and focused.  I know we wouldn't be as far along in our work without their support, advice and encouragement.   The great folks at Leader Dogs for the Blind (LDB) have also been amazing.  Our semi-weekly phone conference calls have been extremely helpful and supportive.  Each and every passing day I am more impressed with the work of this great team at LDB.  Additionally, both Debbie and I will be traveling back to Leader Dog headquarters in a few weeks to visit and see first hand the campus and meet both clients and the LDB team in person.  Getting to make this visit is almost like a dream come true for us.  Both Debbie and I feel as though this experience will help us become more aware of all the services LDB provides and thereby helping us to become better ambassadors.

We have begun to raise funds towards our $35,000 goal.  The first batch of sponsorship pins have arrived and we are beginning to move towards our goal of at least 1,000 sponsors, one sponsor at a time.  To get the ball rolling, LDB has now created a special link (see "DONATE" button at the top right of this site) just for those who want to donate online as part of the Cycling for Leader Dogs project.  This site will accept credit card donations and Leader Dogs will then send out both a sponsorship pin and a thank you letter documenting the tax deductible donation.  All donations will go to LDB for their causes as the costs of the trip itself is being provided in other ways. 

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Press Release: Cycling for Leader Dogs

Cycling for Leader Dogs

Most of us probably had a “back to school” assignment as children where we were asked to write about, “What I did over my summer vacation?”  This fall, La Center, Washington school superintendent Mark Mansell will have plenty to talk about if he was asked to complete the same assignment. 

He is planning on riding his bicycle from Portland, Oregon across the country all the way to Portland, Maine or approximately 3,500 miles.  “I enjoy challenges and I love to learn”, Mansell said.  “Given the chance to attempt something like this is a very special opportunity that is extremely exciting.” 
Putting in the miles is just part of the challenge Mansell is putting before himself.  He is also a member of the La Center Lions Club and has decided to raise money for Leader Dogs for the Blind.  “Given the time commitments of my job, I have not really been able to participate in many Lion’s functions beyond our local community.  When my school board gave me a two month sabbatical, I jumped at the idea of working to support Leader Dogs”, Mansell said.

The goal is to raise at least $35,000 in order to help someone in need to receive a service dog.  To achieve this goal, Mansell (with the support of his home club and interested clubs along the trip route) will work to secure nearly 1,000 sponsors as part of a “penny per mile” for Leader Dogs effort.   All donations of $35 or more will receive a Cycling for Leader Dogs vest pin commemorating this solo cross-country bicycle trip.