WELLESLEY (CBS) – The Wellesley High School girl’s basketball coach received a special achievement award this weekend. The achievement? Riding his bike cross country to raise money for ALS research. And he wasn’t alone. His father and a friend joined the journey that was filled with highs, and one very scary low.
They started in Charlestown on July 31st and finished in Santa Monica on September 29th. “That was 61 days and it was 3526 miles,” says Wellesley coach Glen Magpiong.
He rode with his friend Tucker Swan and his 80-year-old father, Earl. That’s right. Earl is 80. “Unfortunately it’s not a rumor, it’s a fact. Oh, to be 79 again,” he jokes.
This was Earl’s fourth cross-country bike trip, the second for Glen, and the first for Tucker. Why do it? “I don’t know,” Tucker says laughing. “It was just one of those things I’ve thought about for years.”
The adventure, the challenge and raising money to fight ALS kept them moving. Glen wrote the names of people effected by the disease on his gloves, and thought a lot about fellow coach Paul Seaver, who died from ALS. “I would look at my gloves when things might get tough and say, this is why I’m doing it,” Glen says.
The quest almost ended halfway through when Glen was hit by a pickup truck. “The two left wheels ran over my quad, and my leg and once the car stopped I had no idea what I was going to find,” he says.
Remarkably Glen only needed stitches in his right leg and a new bike to replace his mangled old one. Two days later he was back on the road. Despite the danger, most of the trip was a joy.
“You see different people. You see different towns you’ve never been to before. It was fun. It was an adventure,” Earl says.
“We’d come into a restaurant and people would ask what we were doing and we’d tell them and they would give us cash or write us checks,” says Tucker.
Then they rolled into Santa Monica. “It was a great accomplishment. I mean it really was. You think about it. Sixty days on a bike!” says Tucker. “If you think you can, you can. Anything is possible,” Glen says.
Now they’re home. Will there be a “next time?” “Ask me in a couple of years. We’ll see,” Tucker says.
On average they rode about 60 miles each day. The secret, they say, was not thinking about the enormity of the trip, but instead, breaking it down into small, manageable parts.
In addition to raising money for ALS research, Tucker’s ride also supported Partakers, a “college behind bars” program.
For more information or to donate, visit Glen’s fundraising page.