When Richard Core and Susan Freudenheim (his wife) told Barbara and me that he was about to fulfill his dream of riding his bike solo across the United States starting at the Santa Monica Pier in Los Angeles and ending in Massachusetts, we looked at him and thought he was nuts.

“Really?” We incredulously asked.

“Really!” Richard said with a twinkle in his eye.

We knew he was a bike rider, but this was bike riding as an extreme sport. But, Richard has dreamed of doing this his entire adult life. He loves riding and the solitude that comes with it. And – did I mention that Richard has Multiple Sclerosis?

He is currently somewhere in Indiana having taken the southern route to New Mexico around the Rocky Mountains, up through the mid-west and east from Illinois towards his end destination. He originally planned to be there by the end of May – but weather, wind, rain, weariness (who would have thought?), broken bike-parts, and other obstacles he knew would come, came and delayed his journey more than he anticipated. He is averaging, when he is riding, between 60 and 80 miles a day – every day!!! Now he plans to conclude his trip at the end of June.

Susan met him in his native Iowa to see family and to see the two of them together, so happy to be reunited half-way through his journey is sweetness personified.

We all have dreams that we either fulfill or don’t, but Richard did not want this long-held dream to pass him by.

He originally confesses in one blog that he relished the solo aspect and solitude of this effort, but was telling everyone he was going to do it. Why? In a recent blog he explains:

“No matter how many details I gave people about my dream and my planning, and how much I stressed that I knew what I was doing (or at least thought I did), I knew very few of them expected I would follow through on the idea. But I kept telling people. And more people. Even strangers. I had to. Because if I didn’t, it would have been too easy not to make the commitment. Years from now I’d still be talking about my dream. An unfulfilled dream is all it would ever be.”

Richard, a long-time journalist, has been keeping a blog and taking gorgeous photographs. I’ve told him he has to write his version of John Steinbeck’s “Travel’s with Charley.” His book could be titled something like “Biking with MS.” He’ll no doubt have a much better title, should he write the book – and I hope he does. As an example to anyone with MS or any kind of disability, Richard Core is an example worth emulating. Actually, Richard doesn’t have a disability. To the contrary, he has many abilities.

As you can see in the photographs, as Billy Crystal would have said: “Richard – you look Mahvelus!”

Stay healthy, my friend. We can’t wait to actually see you when you return home.

If anyone needs a dose of inspiration – here is the link to Richard’s blog!