Author Topic: A Wacky Idea  (Read 5835 times)

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Offline slowbutsteady

A Wacky Idea
« on: December 22, 2006, 04:55:04 pm »
For the last 3 years I've worked with the homeless in an inner city drug recovery program - and the rate of relapse is disheartening.  
I'd like to try something different.  While traditional rehab facilities do a good job with the spiritual and intellectual components - almost no emphasis at all seems to be put on the body. This May I'd like to take a group of addicts in recovery, put them on bicycles - and ride from Cincinnati, Ohio to the Delancey House in San Fransisco (the premier fresh start program in the country with 26 businesses run by residents) - stopping at AA and NA meetings in towns along the way.
2 questions:
Is anybody aware of other recovery programs that have incorporated biking?
Is the transamerica with the western extension even a possibility for us?  How bad is it?


Offline RussellSeaton

A Wacky Idea
« Reply #1 on: December 22, 2006, 07:00:33 pm »
Just a comment.  Riding across the US, thousands of miles, day after day, takes quite a bit of desire.  The physical side is no big deal.  But to suggest to someone who is not a bicyclist to ride across the US, thousands of miles, day after day of riding, is maybe a bit naive.  You have to want to ride your bike before starting such an undertaking.  The people you are talking to probably have not ridden a bike since childhood.  Almost certainly are not frequent recreational riders who enjoy riding a bike.  Why would they suddenly have the desire, motivation, want to ride a bike for thousands of miles, day after day of riding?  Again, the physical part is easy.  You see bicyclists of every condition riding.  But they want to ride, obviously.  What are you going to do when some or all of the people you take with you decide not to ride any further?  Its also highly likely that the people who would be willing to actually do the cross US ride are the ones who will not relapse anyway because they already have the motivation, drive to succeed once they got off the drugs/alcohol/etc.  So your ride will not really benefit anyone because the ones who will relapse won't ride and the ones who do ride will not relapse whether they ride or not.

My suggestion would be to do a loop in Ohio.  A week long ride.  Long enough to get submersed in bicycling, but not so long that initial enthusiasm will fade.  Just do it as a way to introduce good exercise to the people.  Have them experience the joy of riding a bike.  That's enough.  Not as some grand life changing thing.


Offline ptaylor

A Wacky Idea
« Reply #2 on: December 23, 2006, 03:04:25 pm »
An interesting idea slow. I have no experience with recovery programs, but I think you do well in thinking about putting some emphasis on the body.

Let me suggest that you start with some kind of exercise program - biking might be good. If you have success, build on it, taking rides as a group once or twice a week. Work toward a weekend ride - where you ride out to a church or some other facility 50 or so miles away, and ride back the next day.

With that experience under your belt, you will be prepared to start planning a really challenging trip: week-long trips followed by a trip across the country along the lines you are thinking.

Good Luck.

Paul
Paul

Offline Raine

A Wacky Idea
« Reply #3 on: December 29, 2006, 01:19:56 pm »
I live in Finland, and I recently saw a tv-document about finnish homeless guys football club, which was put together in cooperation with some rehab center. The people attending were propably between 25-40 years of age and certainly no sportsmen - atleast not any more at this point of their lives.

They started to train for "football world cup for homeless people" which was held in some where in South America if I remember correctly. I didn't see the whole document so I'm not aware  how they ended up, but I see similarity in this and your idea.

As I see it, you try to establish somekind of attainable and interesting goals for people who, for many years haven't had any reasonable or interesting goals to strive in their lives.

While I think your idea is great, I would suggest to build a training program where you would do few smaller trips such as RusselSeaton suggested above. I think that when your group would succeed in such smaller trips first, they would gather confidence and experience needed for multi-week journeys.

Best of luck to you!


Offline litespeed

A Wacky Idea
« Reply #4 on: December 30, 2006, 11:15:18 am »
Good luck. When I got out of the army I drifted around the country for a couple of years, staying in rented rooms and working out of rent-a-drunk labor pools. I was always able to get work, usually instantly, because the guys sitting around with their bottles in little brown paper bags would rather whine about their "bad backs' than work. Nowadays they all claim to be "bipolar". They drank and/or used drugs because it felt good and they didn't work because it didn't feel good. And, when speaking candidly, they would readily admit it. Most of them never get their act together (steady job, home) because they die first. Living on Twinkies, rotgut wine and crack and sleeping under bridges is not a healthy life style, to put it mildly.

This message was edited by litespeed on 12-31-06 @ 5:14 AM

Offline razor

A Wacky Idea
« Reply #5 on: February 19, 2007, 04:46:12 pm »
I think you are onto something sbs . If you can challenge these people with an incremental ride ,start with short rides and take longer and longer trips. We all can use positive reinforcement and your idea adds the promise of new beginnings. What happens when these people finish rehab?, they go back to the same place with nothing to look forward to. If this works remember it probably won't work for everyone . Also sbs maybe you need the ride and if you help some others at the same time ,more power to you.
    Smooth roads & good weather .

Razor
Razor

Offline biker_james

A Wacky Idea
« Reply #6 on: February 20, 2007, 08:33:47 am »
While I wouldn't have great hopes, I do think that there is some opportunity in the idea you are suggesting. My own feeling is that many people with addiction issues don't get over the addictive part, but it could be redirected towards cycling. I know of people who had alcohol problems, and when they started running, became obsessive about that. There are probably some "healthy" addicts reading this-they use their addiction for positive goals is all.


Offline slowbutsteady

A Wacky Idea
« Reply #7 on: February 20, 2007, 02:34:08 pm »
To all those cyclists who have been kind enough to reply to my original wacky idea - Thank-you.

Based on your input, encouragement, caution, and words of wisdom, I have decided to turn it into a 2 year project.  Year One will be dedicated to training (spinning classes), bi-weekly local rides, and a long distance overnight ride in the state of Ohio to cap the season.  We will try to pair bike mentors with novice riders and increase visibility for the benefits of cycling for everybody as a way to build and enhance community.  By Year Two I hope to have identified at least 5 to 10 Recovery Riders with enough enthusiasm to join me in a ride across the country.

The Internet is indeed a strange and wonderful place.  That I could tap into so much experience and creative thinking from all over the world is amazing to me.

Thanks again for your generosity of spirit.


Offline ptaylor

A Wacky Idea
« Reply #8 on: February 20, 2007, 07:40:09 pm »
I wish you the best slow - keep us informed.

Paul
Paul

Offline razor

A Wacky Idea
« Reply #9 on: February 20, 2007, 08:00:26 pm »
   It sounds like a workable plan SBS,I wish you the best of Luck . And thanks for caring enough to try your project if it helps one person for even a little while it will be a success .

Razor
Razor

Offline litespeed

A Wacky Idea
« Reply #10 on: February 21, 2007, 11:42:20 am »
biker_james makes a good point. I have met a few people who have "redirected their addictions" as he puts it. I know a dedicated triathlete who had been a hard drug user and dealer. And a few ex-smokers who took up some athletic pursuit in place of cigarettes. But, in the end, it is their decision. All you can do is point the way and be prepared for a low success rate. Good luck.