Riding their way to bring autism awareness

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A New Mexican trio will ride bicycles from Boston, Mass., to Key West, Fla., a 2,400-mile trip along bicycle trails to spread awareness about autism.

Submitted photo: Three New Mexico men will ride 2,400 miles on bicycles to spread awareness about autism. The trio, from left, are John Padoven, Joel Sachs and David A. Garcia, of Belen.

David A. Garcia, a Belen High School graduate, his uncle, John Padoven, of Santa Fe, and Garcia’s cousin, Joel Sachs, of Albuquerque, will begin their 40-day trip Sunday, July 7, with nothing more than their bike gear, inflatable mattresses and tents to arrive at their destination by Aug. 17.

The bicyclists will be documenting their adventures on their Facebook page, “Bike Across America for Autism.” Along their trip, the three will hand out information about autism while raising funds for Mandy’s Farm in Albuquerque, which Sachs’ brother attends.

The nonprofit farm creates a community-living service for those with developmental disabilities, on top of offering aqua therapy, therapeutic horsemanship, organic gardening and volunteer opportunities, according to its website.

“We want communities across the nation to develop something similar to serve the needs of those with developmental disabilities,” Garcia said.

Their goal is to raise at least $1,500 for the farm through the website, www.causes.com.

Being a part of the University of New Mexico’s Bachelor of Arts to Doctor of Medicine Program, Garcia learned there is always room for improvement in treating autism-spectrum disorders and a great need for it as well.

This effort illustrates how far loved ones of those affected by autism-spectrum disorders will go to spread awareness about the disorders, Garcia said. His cousins and Sachs’ two brothers, Luke and Ben, have been diagnosed with autism.

When Padoven, an avid adventurer, asked Garcia and Sachs if they would like to join him on a bicycle trip along the east coast this summer, Sachs saw it as an avenue to raise awareness about autism and support a local organization he cared about. The three began training in May by bicycling 10 miles within Valencia County and then expanding their routes to cover more than 55 miles a day throughout the state.

They plan to average 50 to 100 miles a day on their summer trip.

To donate funds, visit www.causes.com/bikeforautism. Follow the trio’s bicycle journey, visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/BikeAcrossAmericaForAutism.


-- Email the author at aortiz@news-bulletin.com.