Update #2 After a grueling ride from Newton, MA to Greenwich, hundreds of bicyclists on teams with names like Team Good Folks, Team America and Team Christie participated in the Tri-State Trek to raise money and awareness for Lou Gehrig’s Disease (ALS).
At Roger Sherman Baldwin Park, despite the drizzle, spirits were high. In fact, for distance bike riding, the drizzle and mild temps might have been preferable to biking on a hot humid day.
“People in Greenwich are happy to support the cause for their home town hero,” said Greenwich Police Lt. Richard Cochran, whose fundraising goal was $20,000 but wound up closer to $40,000 this year.
“The generosity of all the people in Greenwich is huge. They’re willing to open their hearts and wallets. We do this each year because Roger was one of our own. He was an 18-year veteran of the police force and lost his battle at 44,” Cochran said.
Team Good Folks, a group of riders including Jake Morris, Joel Hunt and their leader Grif Fos ventured first to Boston from homes as far afield as New Orleans and Austin, Texas. Despite the drizzle, the threesome were all smiles despite having ridden 270 miles in the past three days.
Other sources of inspiration included Gabe Cohen who started a team for the fundraiser with college buddy Chuck McNamee from Connecticut College. Gabe introduced us to Steve Saling who was diagnosed in 2006 with Lou Gehrig’s Disease.
Cohen said his team has grown to about 30 members over the years. He said he was thrilled that the the Tri-State Trek finishes in Greenwich. In past years, the ride destination was White Plains, NY.
Saling, a landscape architect, continues to work despite his diagnosis. He also designed the jerseys for the team who rode in the Tri-State Trek in his honor.
There is a reflective dot on Steve’s glasses, that is tracks wherever he is looking based on the movement of his head.
“Some of the clickers are on Steve’s shoulders,” Gabe said. “The river of letters is streaming down the right side of his screen, and when a letter gets closer, he’ll grab it. The program is called Dasher.”
“Some patients with ALS use almost a standard keyboard where they can click away, but Steve uses Dasher. With predictive text he can streams through,” Gabe said.
“Everything is controlled by my computer on my screen,” Steve told Greenwich Free Press. The words, which scrolled across the top of Saling’s computer screen, were even shared on audio, not unlike Siri, but with a man’s voice.
Saling, who participates fully in life — he goes out for beers with friends, works as a landscape architect, and helped create the Steve Saling residence in Chelsea at the Leonard Florence Center for Living. Saling even designed the bike jerseys the team who rose in the Tri-State Trek in his honor.
Saling, with his contagious smile, is a tremendous inspiration. A quick Google search turns up a Vimeo of him skydiving last fall!