To say that I love bicycling would be the understatement of the century. I may not look like a cyclist, nor do I even consider myself one, but I love to ride. Long hours and the feeling of accomplishment, especially after a long hard climb, or a 100+ mile day is something that I have come to live for. And I think that I can make the world a better place while doing something I love – cycling is my first obsession; helping others is my second.
This year, with COVID making headlines everyday and the way it has ripped through our communities, many of our events normally put on to benefit JDRF have been cancelled or look much different than they have in the past. I like to ride the Saratoga Springs, NY JDRF ride for a cure, but this year, that is not going to happen. Here at Buffalo Stamping Plant in Hamburg, New York the UAW-Ford JDRF team holds a golf tournament every year that raises a substantial amount of money for this cause. Again, this was cancelled due to COVID. How do we raise money for JDRF in the years 2020/2021 and stay safe doing it? But, it cannot be a “simple” 100 mile day or a month of trying to reach a certain amount of miles by riding around my block. I need a destination and a goal. This is where the plan started forming from the storm clouds in my brain.
I decided to leverage the UAW-Ford partnership that has done so much for JDRF and ride to Detroit from my plant near Buffalo, New York. But, wait, that is not quite big enough. I want this to be big. I want this to be epic. I want people to say, “Holy moly what is this guy thinking?” Well… I want the non-cyclist, normal, everyday blue collar American to think that. This is when I decided to ride to various UAW-Ford Plants in the United States and to Oakville Assembly in Canada where the Buffalo Stamping Plant ships parts for the Ford Edge. Yeah, that is big. That plan just might be epic.
So I created a plan that will take me from the Ford Buffalo Stamping Plant to Ford plants in Cleveland , then to Louisville, to Kansas City, Missouri and on to Chicago. From Chicago it is a short two to three day ride to Detroit. My ride home could take me through Oakville, if the Canadian border is open. From Oakville, it is a short 100+ mile ride back to Buffalo Stamping Plant. I know it seems crazy, but not to me. The whole route will be over 2400 miles and will take about a month to finish. Again, I am still planning here.
People have been asking me why I would do this. My answer is not complicated. Our world grows smaller every single day. We can get from one side of the earth to the other in hours, not weeks or days. We can land on the moon, plan trips to Mars, and see far beyond that. We have technology that lets my children learn from the safety of our home. Technology that sequences a genome, but we can’t fix diabetes… YET! My best friend’s father had to have part of his foot amputated because of diabetes. Typ1 1 diabetes affect more than 1.7 million Americans. Well, how about we turn Type One into Type None. I ride for JDRF to help make that happen and it is why I want to go EPICALLY BIG! I ride so that others may have a better life with better treatments. I ride so that I can help JDRF put Type 1 behind us and take on the challenges of tomorrow. I ride, for those who can’t.
The world is small, and we are in this fight together. All of us play a role. I can help my fellow man, I can work to improve society, I can fight to bring about change, or I can sit on the sidelines and complain about it. I am choosing to get into the fight. These are the reasons I ride with JDRF to find a cure for T1D. It is the right thing to do. Did I mention that this is going to be EPIC?! And I need your help – so please consider making a donation to help me and to help JDRF turn Type One into Type NONE. Thanks for reading my story and supporting my mission.
Darwin D. Ost Jr