Life Doesn't Stop at Cancer: Crazy Guys on Bikes Take on Tour
At first glance, the obvious. Three men with bright tight gear each armed with an iron horse, water bottles, bags, sunglasses, a bob trailer and a GPS. Undeniably, a bike touring group, but as they get closer, a big yellow banner on a trailer calls attention to the eye. It reads “Pedaling Over 1200 miles . . .” It finally clicks, these guys are on a mission.
The three cyclists, touring and working their way through the Redland section of Homestead this morning, were Isidro and George Mendes, and companion guest, “Buzz” Beilharz who flew from Hendersonville, North Carolina to accompany his friends for a few days as they headed to Key West earlier this week. Meanwhile, the Mendes’ have been on the road since January 17 when they parted from Venice, Florida, on the Gulf Coast, to raise awareness and funds for the cure of cancer.
And that’s not all, the most impressive aspect of this great ride, also known as, Tour de Isidro, is that Isidro is George’s dad and is a warrior battling cancer. This morning, short of their 600 mile mark, twenty two road kills and one gator sighting later, the Mendes duo and their riding guest, met up with me at Kraus Berry Farm for cinnamon rolls, milkshakes and a little chat. As it turns out, Isidro cycles since he was first diagnosed on 2006 and shortly after George challenged himself to do a transcontinental ride across the U.S. And he did it as a one-man-show, riding solo to raise awareness and funds while his dad battled cancer.
Isidro is originally from Fatima, Portugal. He is a fit young looking 75-year-old man with a great smile and determination to enjoy every moment that life has to offer. Cheerfully, he points out that, life is not over because one is diagnosed with cancer. In fact, this is a challenge he takes very seriously and he defiantly faces it as he rides coast to coast and North-and-South the Florida peninsula. And George, is a man with great love for his father, friend and cycling partner, and together they resolute to defeat the disease.
Undoubtedly, this ride is special for both and for everyone who encounters them. As George asserts, it started as a ride to honor his dad but along the way he has been humbled by the many people he encounters on they way. People who are either under treatment or know someone who lost to cancer. For this reason, Tour de Isidro is now more than just a ride for the cure or a proclamation of faith and life. It is a journey to honor all of those people who live with cancer or lost the battle. It is an unmeasurable mission of life, love, courage and strength and a journey one cannot help but think that life is simply wonderful.
As the Mendes duo leaves town we wish them well and a ride with no dog chases, pleasant weather and good food. Buzz is now on his way home to the Blue Ridge Mountains and father and son towards Jacksonville. In a few days they will head back triumphantly riding Southwest and leaving a print over central Florida as they head home to the Gulf coast. We wish them a safe ride back home. We hope to see them again soon and we ask them to keep us all posted of their adventures on their awesome blog. Good luck boys!