Cross country cyclist ends 900 mile trip in Long Beach

Rick Lerma started his 900 mile bike ride in Chicago
Rick Lerma started his 900 mile bike ride in Chicago
Lerma made it to the Gulf of Mexico in 9 days
Lerma made it to the Gulf of Mexico in 9 days

LONG BEACH, MS (WLOX) - One man just completed a bike ride that has landed him on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, but this wasn't just any bike ride. It was more a feat of strength and endurance. Rick Lerma traveled 900 miles in just nine days from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico.

White sand beaches and the gentle ebb of gulf waters are a common sight for people who live on the Coast. For Rick Lerma, the sight means the end of a long, hard, journey.

"A couple of months ago I went ahead and pulled the trigger and said I'm going to do it," said Lerma.

He flew to Chicago with his bike, dipped his back tire into Lake Michigan, and set off on the nine day adventure. It was all to raise funds and awareness for the Boy Scouts of America.

"I was in the Boy Scouts, and I had a good time. I liked camping. I liked tying the knots. I liked learning how to make a fire. I liked just being in the outdoors, and it seemed like a bit of a challenge as a youth," said Lerma.

That thirst for challenge stayed with Lerma into adulthood, which makes this adventure all the more meaningful to him. He remembers being inspired as a young boy in the scouts to do things that he never thought he could. Knowing that other children may draw the same inspiration from seeing him made the trip worth it.

"I can picture a few of the faces of the children I passed, and maybe one or two of them will wind up getting a bike and doing something like this. Who knows," said Lerma.

It wasn't easy. Lerma pedaled through four states of sunny days, stormy days, ideal and not so ideal conditions.

"I must have thought about quitting 200 times. I thought about getting a ride 100 times," said Lerma.

One of the only things that kept him going was the knowledge that he was doing some good for someone else, but there was something else that made him push on.

"Pride, I know it's a sin, but it helps," said Lerma.

Lerma says he hopes people will see his story and want to donate to the Boy Scouts. To find out more about helping his cause, you can visit his Facebook fan page at:

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