Five hundred miles, five days and $5,000.
Jonesborough native David Simmerman began a week-long trek across the state Monday morning, eyeing 100 miles per day. For his 50th birthday, Simmerman decided to bicycle across Tennessee, from Mountain City to Memphis.
Simmerman peddled through the first 60 miles by late Monday morning with some friends — he stopped by his sister’s house to visit with family before finishing his first day in Bulls Gap. By logging 100 miles per day, Simmerman said he hopes to finish the 500-mile trek in five days.
It’s not just his cycling hobby that drove him to the journey — he said he aims to raise money for the Tennessee Baptist Children’s Homes charity throughout the week, and he said donations have already begun pouring in.
“It’s a great ministry here in the state of Tennessee, covers the whole state, helps kids find forever families, helps them through foster care,” he said, adding, “It’s kind of neat to gain momentum with people all over the world, we’ve had some donations from Shanghai, China, from Romania, all across the state of Tennessee.”
Simmerman’s brother will follow behind him for the trip in a truck labeled with stickers promoting David’s Ride Across Tennessee. His checkpoints along the way include visiting friends and family members across the state before he arrives at his destination in Memphis on Friday.
“It’s hard, it’s not easy, it’s about a 15-mile-an-hour-pace, it’s six-and-a-half, seven hours a day on a bike, approximately, depending on hills and rain and fog and that kind of stuff,” he said. “I think it’s doable, that’s not elite-level like the guys in the Tour de France do, it’s a slower pace, but it’s a pace I think will get me across the state.”
You can follow Simmerman’s journey on social media by searching for Dave’s Ride Across Tennessee on Facebook, where he will share photos and videos throughout the week. To donate to the charity, go to tennesseebaptistchildrenshomes.org, and type ‘in honor of Dave’s Ride.’