DIXON – Jacob Nelson doesn’t plan to have his feet on the ground much for the next
The 31-year-old Dixon native will embark on a coast-to-coast bike ride Saturday and raise funds for pancreatic cancer research along the way.
Nelson, a school psychologist with the Grant Wood Area Education Agency in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, got a taste of long-distance bicycling last year when he joined a friend, Garrett McLinn, for part of his cross-country ride.
That trip took Nelson 2,428 miles across seven states from Seattle to Madison, Wisconsin, and although he enjoyed the feat, he couldn’t stop thinking about how he wished he had enough time to go the whole way.
“It gave me the itch I couldn’t scratch,” he said last week while visiting family in Dixon.
It was during the trip that he also was inspired to ride for a cause, and he chose to partner with the Lustgarten Foundation, which directs 100 percent of donations to pancreatic cancer research.
He’s hoping to raise $10,000 in donations, none of which will go toward Nelson’s travel expenses.
His 2,900-mile journey will stretch from Newport, Oregon, to Atlantic City, New Jersey, which he hopes to reach by the end of July.
He expects to go through Dixon on July 11 and is looking to partner with a business to host a gathering that day.
Nelson drew inspiration from several people for the trip, including McLinn, the bicyclists they encountered, well-known Dixon author Richard Lovett, who wrote a book on bicycle touring, and longtime city worker Eddie Ryan, who died from cancer in February.
He looks forward to experiencing the country in a unique way and meeting people throughout the trip, one of the biggest rewards from his ride last year.
“We encountered good people every day, and we didn’t have to look hard for them,” he said.
Nelson is a 2006 Dixon High School graduate and attended Western Illinois University. His parents are optometrist Kurt Nelson and substitute teacher Sarah Nelson. His two brothers are Luke, a transportation engineer at Willett, Hofmann & Associates, and Benjamin, a member of the Illinois Army National Guard who works at Crest Foods.
FOLLOW THE RIDE
Those wanting to donate by check can email Nelson at firstname.lastname@example.org