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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

UA alum bikes, wishes across the country

UA alum bikes, wishes across the country

After graduation, many students spend their time filling out job applications, searching for internships or maybe hanging around. Justin Mauser, a recent UA graduate, is doing all of those things. He’s just biking across the nation while he’s at it.

He began his journey in Bar Harbor, Maine, on Aug. 25. Since then, he has cycled through 12 states.

Mauser moved to Tucson in 2007, where he pursued a degree in biochemistry, conducted independent research on diabetes and volunteered with the Tucson Medical Center. He started cycling his junior year and competed in El Tour de Tucson for his first cycling event.

After graduating in May, Mauser said he knew he wanted to travel, but didn’t have the money to do so internationally. So he decided to embark on a cross-country bike tour instead.

“This is my chance to do something that I’m passionate about before medical school,” he said.

Mauser is fundraising for the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Arizona, an organization that seeks to grant the wishes of children who suffer from potentially fatal medical conditions. Although he isn’t collecting donations while he’s on the road, Mauser sold T-shirts before his departure and has been blogging throughout the tour to bring attention to the cause. Mauser said he is only $50 away from his original fundraising goal of $4,000.

Mauser said his cross-country bike tour has been an opportunity to meet new people, see new places and have new adventures.

“The whole idea is that you have to be on your toes and you have to think on your feet,” he said.

One evening, after a long day of cycling, Mauser found himself in a restaurant in New Hampshire. A stranger, who turned out to be a cyclist himself, offered to let Mauser stay in his home for the night. Mauser accepted the invitation and received not only a bed to sleep on, but also a homemade dinner and a hot breakfast. The two men ended up biking 30 miles together into Vermont the next day.

“One thing that’s really surprising is how kind and how hospitable people are,” Mauser said.

Mauser carries a tent, sleeping bag, basic toiletries and a medical kit. He did not pack much warm clothing, even though he is biking through the Rocky Mountains, he said. To maintain his bike, Mauser carries tools, a patch kit and tire tubes. His technological tool-bag includes maps, a water purifier and his iPhone.

Mauser said he bikes an average of 75 miles a day, but he has biked anywhere from 20 to 120. If he discovers an interesting place along the way, he may stop to explore.

“I’m trying to take this trip day by day,” Mauser said.

He estimates that he will reach his final destination, the UA Mall, in about two and half weeks.

Mauser wanted to thank to all of the people, whether they are family, friends or strangers, who helped him along the way.

“There’s too many people to name,” he said.

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