THIS weekend a York dad will start the challenge of a lifetime to cycle an epic 3,700 miles across America.
Tony Ives, of Acaster Malbis, will set off from Yorktown in Virginia to begin his two month ride to San Francisco in California in an incredible journey which will see him cross the cornfields of Kansas, brave the heat of the Nevada desert and make the gruelling ascent of the Rocky mountains.
All money raised will go to the York Carers Centre to support carers struggling to look after those with substance misuse or alcohol problems.
"The thought of cycling across the USA has me excited and thoughtful", Tony said.
"I am well out of my comfort zone although I have been to the USA on many occasions but never cycled. I will see lots of different scenery, meet lots of different people including many also cycling, endure lots of very hot and wet weather, experience kindness, experience hostile dogs and drivers, climb a lot of very steep hills and no doubt I will get to California and think that time has flown."
Dad-of-two Tony decided to spend more time cycling after he was made redundant from a role in the construction industry and although he quickly found more work as a trouble shooting consultant he had a "road to Damascus" moment when he questioned the extent of work he was doing.
Since then Tony has already cycled 2000 miles from York to Faro in Portugal, 1000 miles from York to Milan and is now taking on his biggest challenge.
He has made a target of £1000 and felt inspired to raise money to help a small charity, or the ‘little guy’ in his own words, and he chose York Carers Centre.
Tony said: "I am a York resident, so what happens here is important to me. And I sympathise for the many people giving a lot of their time and their lives caring for others, particularly since there are two people affected and a lot of the time the carer can be unappreciated, even by the person they care for.
"I always value my freedom and can empathise with folk who don't have that opportunity because of their caring responsibilities."
The money will be used to take some of the carers of people who are dealing with substance misuse away for a residential break.
He is encouraging people to donate money at http://localgiving.com/fundraising/follow-your-arrow-usa and follow his progress across America on his website: http://www.follow-your-arrow-usa.blogspot.co.uk/