Not just along for the ride

Charity: Local bicyclers sign on for Do Something's cross-country fund raiser. It's a done deal, says Tish McGinn of Catonsville.

July 06, 1999|By Melody Holmes | Melody Holmes,SUN STAFF

Tish McGinn and Dan Mueller are riders for a cause, bicycling cross- country to raise money for community programs for children.

McGinn, of Catonsville, and Mueller, of Glen Burnie, are among scores of cyclists taking part in a summer charity bike trip from San Francisco to New York City sponsored by Do Something, a national non-profit organization.

Do Something -- founded by actor Andrew Shue, who was Billy on the former Fox TV soap "Melrose Place" -- aims at inspiring leadership and positive behavior in young people all over the country.

It provides opportunities for children to improve their schools and their communities.

The idea is to keep kids from being overcome by the boredom that sometimes causes them to get into things that could get them arrested or killed, such as drugs or gangs.

Do Something sponsors the annual Kindness and Justice Challenge, in which children perform acts of charity and compassion in memory of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The acts of kindness and justice range from breaking up fights, to defending a person being bullied at school, to volunteering at senior centers or homeless shelters.

Seven Baltimore-area schools took part in this year's Challenge, working on cleanup projects and sending donations to the needy. There is even a Do Something League to which many Maryland schools belong, including Baltimore's Greenspring Middle, Robert Poole Middle and Federal Hill Elementary.

This summer, Do Something organized its first coast-to-coast bike ride to raise money for its programs for children. Supporters can pledge donations for every mile the bikers travel.

Marylanders McGinn and Mueller intend to ride the entire two-month course. They are still looking for more sponsors.

According to McGinn, there is no question she will finish the bike ride. She trained seriously for about eight months. She said she lost weight during her preparation, noting, "That way, you don't have to haul quite as much over the Rockies."

In one day, she and Mueller rode 95 miles, surpassing the 70-per-day average bikers were scheduled to travel.

Mueller said he has always wanted to ride cross-country, and the Do Something ride was the perfect opportunity.

"The fact that the ride is for charity is just an added bonus," he said.

As for Mueller's prospects of finishing, he says, "So far, so good."

The ride will end Aug. 15 when McGinn, Mueller and the other participants reach New York. The riders' daily progress is posted on the Do Something Web site.

To pledge a donation for one of the riders, or for more information about Do Something, visit its Web site (www.dosome-thing.com).

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