Cyclist raising money for local Scouts Harter will pedal 4300 miles to send kids to camp

Planning a trip very soon after retiring is common, but it is rare a retiree will plan to hop on a bicycle and ride coast to coast across ten states. Don Harter is no stranger to long bicycle rides, he has already participated in 1000 and 1500 mile treks. The appeal of going 4300 coast to coast is very motivating for Harter as the Trans Am Bike Race is twice as long as the Tour De France.
“I planned to do this race a year after I retired. Then I thought, why wait? So now I’m leaving a few weeks after my last day.” stated Harter. He retires from the University of Missouri Power Plant in May where he is currently an operations supervisor.
Harter’s main transportation around Columbia is his bicycle. He travels to and from work nearly every day and all trips for smaller items at the store on his bicycle. So, the appeal of going from Astoria, Oregon to Yorktown, Virginia was a big factor in choosing this ride. Harter will enter as a rookie, but will still face the same challenges as the veteran riders.
“The challenge is this race is self-supported, receiving any form of support from other racers, friends, or family is not allowed. All food, accommodations, repairs, everything must be purchased from commercial sources.” Harter explained. “I have no crew and no vehicle following to help make repairs or provide hydration. We can’t even draft each other.”
The decision to fundraise for Scouting during his ride was an easy one. “I’ve organized the District Pinewood Derby Day event for Cub Scouts for 23 years. Also, each month I host the district roundtable meeting at my church, Broadway Christian.” Harter said he was approached at a recent meeting by a fellow Scout volunteer, Hank Stelzer, about asking for donations. “Hank started asking others at the meeting if they would support my ride by donating a penny or dime a mile” to the Great Rivers Council Scoutreach program, to help deter costs of Scouting activities for youth with financial need. Before the end of the meeting they raised nearly five hundred dollars.
“My goal is to raise a dollar a mile, that can send 16 Scouts to summer camp who might not otherwise get to attend.” Harter stated. The Great Rivers Council has a page up to accept donations at or you can donate at the council office.
Harter plans to invite Scouts to join him along the ride. Scouts can complete a requirement for the Cycling Merit Badge by peddling 50 miles with Harter.
The race started June 2. You can follow Harter’s progress on the RaceTransAm site as he will have a spot tracker with him and plans to update the blog on the donation site. The race mostly follows the TransAm route which is an Adventure Cycling route. It is near the Bikecentennial route from 1976 when 4000 people bicycled it that year.

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