- Freddie Hoffman
Freddie Hoffman (c. 1959-) a native of
River Edge, New Jersey, has ridden his bicycle to the moon and back. [Reardon, Patricia; and Collina, Helen Lippman. [http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9B0DE7D81031F935A15757C0A961948260 "BICYCLISTS HEADING FOR THE OPEN ROAD"] , " The New York Times", April 26, 1987. Accessed May 28, 2008. "SINCE 1965, says Freddie Hoffman of River Edge, he has bicycled more than 600,000 miles, or "more than enough to go to the moon, orbit twice and come back."] More accurately, he has ridden the equivalent of more than two round-trips to the moon and hasn't stopped. He is known among bicyclists as "Million-Mile Freddie." To date (2007) he has bicycled more than 1.4 million miles. He has ridden his bicycle in the cause of the leukemia research and raised more than 1.1 million dollars.
Freddie's path to bicycle riding was his response to serious personal challenges. Oxygen deprivation at birth caused severe brain damage which left him with profound learning disabilities.
Because of those learning disabilities he was often considered ineducable or, as Freddie describes comments from some school officials, "Too stupid to learn". Through the efforts and determination of his mother, Ruth E. Hoffman, Freddie learned reading and other basic skills and received whatever public education she could get for him. His mother died of leukemia in 1986. In addition to naming his bicycles "Ruth E." after her, he has focused on raising money in her memory to support leukemia research.
As a child Freddie had few if any friends and was attracted to bicycle riding as his escape from loneliness. His heroes were the astronauts who had been to the moon and his goal was to pedal his bicycle the distance to the moon and back. He describes his childhood bicycle as being his "rocket ship".
Freddie keeps scrupulous mileage logs. He has ridden across the United States many times. He's visited every one of the contiguous 48 states and been honored by more than 30 state governors.
Freddie travels alone; No support team follows him. He carries all his gear, and enough parts to do most repairs, on a bicycle he built to his own specifications. A detailed understanding of bicycle geometry enables Freddie to design a frame and construct a bicycle that can support him, all his supplies and equipment, and still be able to ride in an upright posture and climb mountain roads while maintaining a steady 80 RPMs. The bicycle he is now riding is "Ruth E IV".
Every Spring Freddie calls on his friends and supporters, now numbering in the hundreds, to get pledges to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Foundation for his upcoming ride that summer.
ABC News ran a story on Freddie Hoffman in September 2006 along with a 14 minute interview. [http://abcnews.go.com/Health/story?id=2458325]
* [http://www.miles4melanoma.com/hoffman.html Copy of article from "Bicycling"]
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