By Nina Raemont
For many of us, a 10 mile bike ride is enough exercise for one lifetime, but for Maple Grove resident Brian Johnson and his son, Jacobey, that’s a warmup. The Johnsons have cycled their way through Minnesota, but once COVID hit, they decided to switch gears. When Jacobey, who currently lives in California, called Brian up one day and proposed a 500 mile ride, starting in San Francisco and ending in Los Angeles, the Johnsons, with the help of Brian’s workplace, Choice Bank, decided to turn their six day cycling trip into a fundraiser.
Entitled “Biking for Purpose,” the 500 mile fundraiser that the Johnsons began on Aug. 8 will be biked on California Highway 1, trailing along the Pacific Coast, which Jacobey describes as “absolutely stunning.” He hopes that some of the scenic views will ease their pedaling pain.
The Johnsons will average around 70 to 80 miles each day, and face extremely high elevations, but their training leading up to the ride prepared them for such intense exercise.
Once COVID and the death of George Floyd occurred, Brian looked for ways to help. With a voice in his head telling himself “whatever it is, just do something,” he arrived at the happy medium of doing something he loved and raising money for a few great causes along the way. As the president and chief banking officer at Choice Bank, Brian owes much gratitude and appreciation to his employer who has supported this endeavor, monetarily and emotionally, every step of the way.
The father and son duo has currently raised around $40,000 from their fundraising efforts, and they plan to donate the money to Great Plains Food Bank, Ascension Catholic School in Minneapolis, The Man Up Club in Minneapolis, 826 Valencia in San Francisco and the University of Minnesota Caregiver Emergency Fund.
“It’s pretty cool that your son wants to hang out with you,” says Brian, when asked about his excitement for the trip. And it’s even cooler that they can raise money to uplift some beloved organizations.
“Doing this with my dad will be amazing, and we’ll be able to do some good along the way," says Jacobey. "It’ll be one for the books."