BRATTLEBORO -- A flat tire wasn’t going to stop Tom Massoth on Wednesday.
He had already pedaled from Albany, N.Y., that day and was just two miles from a checkpoint at the Holiday Inn Express at 100 Chickering Drive. After a little maintenance, Massoth was back on his bike and turned into the parking lot at about 1:45 p.m. -- well after some of his fellow riders that have joined him on a cross-country trek.
But Massoth’s ride is different from the others, as he is cycling for a cause very dear to him. The 57-year-old’s participation in the 3,400-mile journey -- organized by CrossRoad Cycling Adventures -- is an effort to raise money for the pro-life cause, more specifically for a Birth Choice Health Clinic in Placentia, Calif.
He and his wife, Michele, are trying to generate funds for the organization they volunteer for and that supports men and women that opt not to abort a pregnancy. It offers free sonograms as well as classes on breastfeeding and Internet safety. CrossRoads, a for-profit company based in Littleton, Colo., organizes long-distance bicycle rides for customers and arranges everything from lodging to food to medical and equipment support for them. All participants must pay a charge to the company, according to Tom Dunn of the support staff.
"I’ve wanted to do it for a number of years," he said. "I think God called us to take the ride and make it something noteworthy to support the
He began his trip at the start in Manhattan Beach, Calif., and his wife has been following the route in a vehicle. Michele Massoth, who lives with her husband in Yorba Linda, Calif., said it is one way to fight for the sanctity of life.
People can visit http://tomsliferide2012.blogspot.com to donate to the cause.
As of Wednesday night, a little more than $6,000 had been generated. Massoth’s goal is to raise $40,980 by the time the ride reaches Boston on July 30. The hopeful figure is the equivalent of how many babies Massoth says will have been aborted in the time since he began the journey on May 12 to when he rides into the Massachusetts state capital.
He said he was hoping for more donations than he has received.
"I have very high goals. I wish people would follow it more and support it more," he said standing next to his Specialized Roubaix bicycle, with his helmet still on.
"Every 20 seconds a child is lost -- every 20 seconds," he said. "And even pro-life people, we have found, don’t really get the enormity of that fact."
In its landmark decision Roe v. Wade decision in 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1973 that a woman’s right to an abortion is protected by the due process clause of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Massoth said more than 55 million babies have been aborted since that time.
"That’s a generation," he said.
He said he hasn’t always been so passionate about the abortion issue. His view developed, he said, after he and his wife had their two daughters.
"I think you wise up when you get married. You see the uniqueness of an individual and then you have children and you see the specialness of children," he said. "We’re trying to raise awareness,"
"There’s good people on both sides of a very complicated issue," he continued. "We’re not here trying to make a statement that people of the other side are bad people."
The ride has brought Massoth across the country and he has been able to see a lot of its aesthetic beauty. Wednesday’s leg took him through Bennington and up Hogback Mountain on the way to Brattleboro.
"It was beautiful. It was a different kind of terrain, with pine trees. That’s something we haven’t really seen," he said. He climbed more than 5,000 feet and pedaled 79 miles during the day. "I feel great. Actually, it’s easier now than it was when we started."
Today’s plan is to bike through New Hampshire to Burlington, Mass., which is 18 miles from Boston. Massoth said all the participants will ride to the city together on Friday. The cyclists will ceremoniously dip the front wheel of their bicycles into the Atlantic Ocean just as they did with their rear wheel in the Pacific at the beginning of the journey. That way, Massoth said, the bikes will have traveled from ocean to ocean.
Massoth, an engineer with Boeing, said he has had to use almost all of his vacation time for the ride. And though he can’t commit to doing it again, he said it was entirely worth it this year.
"That’s why you have vacations," he said.
Domenic Poli can be reached at email@example.com, or 802-254-2311, ext. 277.