California man bikes across the country to promote active living

BAY ST. LOUIS, MS (WLOX) - A man all the way from California made his way to the Mississippi Coast on Saturday afternoon on his bicycle. It's something 33-year-old Chris Figureida does throughout the year to raise awareness about being fit and staying healthy.

"The bike is a tool, and it's not necessarily about the cycling or about me. It's about reaching out to as many people as possible and encouraging them to be healthy and active," Figureida.

Figureida started his eighth bicycling trip across the United States with the 2,900 mile ride from San Diego on April 3. With his detailed, mapped route he should make it to Jacksonville, FL, by this time next week. He says his journey is all about giving back to the community.

"There's no heart disease or anything like that in my family. It was more of I saw people who were volunteering, and I wanted to be like them," Figureida said. "I wanted to find a way to give back to my community, and I wanted to do something that was fun."

Figureida says his main focus is to reach out to the kids in the communities he passes through and encourage them to stay fit and healthy.

"If I can prevent just a couple kids, starting at around the third grade level, from making bad choices in life, bad health choices, food and exercise and encourage them to be healthy and active, I think I'll make that difference that I want to make," Figureida said.

With the right planning, Figureida says it all works out, and he's able to accomplish his goal of mentoring children about the importance of staying active.

"It takes months and months to find every individual and then connect with the heart association in every major city, where they may take me to an elementary school, to the state capitol or to meet with the media. Whatever it is, and you put all this together, you put it on a calendar, you set the date and no matter what happens, I can't be off schedule," Figureida says.

When Figureida makes it to Jacksonville, he says he will be taking a flight back home to rest until his next cycling journey which is scheduled in August in Djibouti.

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