Derry resident Rich DiSalvo and his impressive and dedicated support team recently put forth the second colossal effort of their planned three-stage cycling “Tour to Endure” to benefit autism awareness and research. And as was the case with stage one, it was a major success.
DiSalvo and his team pulled off the 1,400-mile bicycle trek from Kittery Point, Maine to Yulee, Florida which made up the second stage of their three-stage series. The long ride ended on Thursday evening, Aug. 7, one day ahead of schedule after commencing at Fort McClary State Park in Maine on July 22. The local man’s two bike treks have served as fundraisers for the “Autism Speaks” program.
“The trip was an incredible experience and very challenging on many levels,” said DiSalvo. “But because of my amazing family, we were able to pull it off without any major issues.”
The local man’s “Tour to Endure” is a three-part, three-year cycling and fundraising event to help raise money and awareness for Autism Speaks, which is an autism advocacy organization that sponsors autism research and conducts awareness and outreach activities aimed at families, governments, and the public.
Stage One involved a two-day, 246-mile trek from the New Hampshire/Canadian border to the New Hampshire/Massachusetts border, and it was completed over the weekend of August 10 and 11 of last summer.
The smooth completion of the recent second stage certainly pleased all involved, but none more so than DiSalvo himself.
“Without a doubt this was the definition of a team effort,” he said. “Everyone in the family played a major role, although none bigger than my wife Sue, who basically kept everything together along the way. I had the easiest role of anyone on the trip; just get on the bike early in the morning and ride.”
The Derry man was joined for segments of the long ride by his fellow cyclist and eight-year-old daughter Jennifer (several miles leading into a few campgrounds and a stretch just before the Florida border); his 21-year-old son Joe (several days including the stretch into Pocahontas State Park in Virginia); 17-year-old son James (a thrilling downhill section of descent into New York), and daughter Christina, who turned 20 during the trip and rode on several occasions including the final 20 miles into Florida.
“My oldest brother Phil, at 60-years-old, travelled with us for three days from Connecticut to Pennsylvania and rode some very hilly sections, while I biked with my brothers Steve and Dave on the second day of the trip along the Nashua River Rail Trail from Nashua to Ayer, Mass.,” said DiSalvo. “The best part, without question, was being able to ride with the kids and with my brothers as well.”
In terms of fundraising for the Autism Speaks cause, DiSalvo and his team and supporters have now surpassed the $4,000 mark.
“I think that with some hard work next year, we can go way beyond the $5,000 overall goal for all three stages and take a shot at $10,000 for the entire three-stage tour,” said DiSalvo. “And stage two may be complete, but the fundraising page is still open and donations can still be made to Autism Speaks on behalf of the tour.”
Folks wishing to do just that should go to fundraise.autismspeaks.org.
Next year’s third and final stage, set for the summer of 2015, will consist of a one-month cycle from Astoria, Oregon to New Hampshire’s Hampton Beach, covering approximately 3,300 miles.