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Mark A. Myczkowiak
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Mark Haney
Christine Brass
Carol Skolnik

Midland St. Brigid to benefit from parishioner’s rides

By Mark Haney
The Catholic Weekly

MIDLAND — To erase debts, parishes are known to have bake sales, car washes and spaghetti dinners.

Larry Adamcik has another idea. He’s going for a ride.

A very long ride.

Larry Adamcik hopes to help ease his parish’s debts by riding his bicycle this year.

From June to October, the 66-year-old hopes to ride his Trek bicycle 3,000 miles or more to raise money to erase some of the debt St. Brigid Parish incurred with the new addition to the school, which last year expanded to add grades 7-8.
To reach his goal, Adamcik has to average 600 miles a month. In June, he logged more than 800 miles.

The Dow Chemical Co. retiree knows the goal is attainable because he has the record to prove it.

It began when he had a heart bypass operation nine years ago.

“I wanted to try to keep somewhat in shape,” he said. “My son, (Jeff, 42, a teacher at Bullock Creek Middle School), a mountain bike rider all over the state and even outside Michigan, got me into biking just to keep in shape.”

Adamcik has been riding over the past four to five years, trying each year to go a little farther. Last year he decided to seek pledges to help his youngest daughter Pam, 39, an overseas missionary with Youth With A Mission, an international, inter-denominational, non-profit Christian missionary organization. He raised a little over $3,000 for the education of Pam’s three children.

“Last year I made a goal of 3,000 miles, for my daughter, and I ended up going 3,500 miles,” Adamcik said. “But I started in April for that one. This year I started in June for St. Brigid, so that is a couple of months I don’t have. So figured I’d shoot for 3,000 and if I can get five months in, that would be 600 miles a month. That will be my goal. And if I can get a little bit ahead of that goal, that will be fine. As long as I can keep going.”

This unique fund-raising effort has a personal bent to it, too. Adamcik attended St. Brigid School back in the 1950s.”

“I just left it to the Lord and the Holy Spirit,” he said. “I said I would do my part and ask people. And if they say fine, and the Holy Spirit guides them, then that is fine. And if they say no, that is fine too. But at least I have to do my part.”

The response has been mostly supportive. He has the support of his family — wife Sherrill (they will be celebrate their 45th wedding anniversary in September); daughter Lori, 43, is married with three children and lives in Zion, Ill.; Jeff, the mountain bike racer sponsored by Bicycle Headquarters in Midland; daughter Debra, 40 a sketch artist; and Pam, who is a missionary in Asia. The parish council also gave him its blessing. One of its members even pledged 10 cents a mile.

While a notice about the effort in the parish bulletin asked people to consider a per-mile pledge, Adamcik said most people are offering a set amount, regardless of the miles he rides.

“Some people are not able to give a whole lot,” he said, “but they would like to be a part of that, to team up with me.”

And nearly everyone is offering other forms of support too.

“Some people also have offered to pray for my safety,” he said.

Adamcik decided to let people have a second way to help the effort. He’s inviting people to join him at Midland’s Tridge at 9 a.m. Saturday, July 23, to go riding with him “and to see if they can get some sponsors.

“I don’t know how well that will work,” he said, “but I am going to give that a try.”
Mostly, though, Adamcik rides alone. And he rides while very aware of the weather.

“At times, on a hot day like this, I try to do it in the morning when it is a little cooler,” he said. “Generally I head into the wind to start so I have the wind with me when I come back.”

His mileage varies.

“Some days I need a rest, so I don’t ride,” he said. “On other days I’ll ride anywhere from 20 miles up to 100 miles in one day. But that is a long day for me.

“I like to go on the rail-trail quite a bit. That is more safe for me.”

He lives about three miles from the Chippewa Nature Trail, which starts at the Chippewa Nature Center and takes him to the Tridge in downtown Midland “and from there I can go to Coleman or even all the way to Clare.”

He always packs food, or maybe an energy gel, and water.

“I don’t go real fast,” he said. “I don’t have the legs or lungs to go real fast but I go 14 to 15 miles per hour.”

When not on the trail, he said, “I try to take the back roads a lot. I see all kinds of animals, live and dead.”

When this ride is over, Adamcik will do as he does after every long ride.

“Then I take a rest,” he said. “A long rest.”