RideForPKD making a stop in Vail
Vail local Glenn Frommer will be in Vail on Saturday morning on his journey across America on his bike to raise funds for PKD
Since May 1, Glenn Frommer has been pedaling his way across the western United States on his RideForPKD, a 5,300-mile bike ride across America that covers 18 states and over 200,000 vertical feet of climbing. Frommer is traveling from San Francisco to Cape Cod on the RideForPKD.
Frommer is a Vail resident who has Polycystic Kidney Disease. He is riding to raise awareness and funds to find a cure for PKD. He will be coming through Vail at the end of the week.
On Monday, Frommer said he had surpassed the 2,000-mile mark and had done 100,000 feet of climbing. He also deviated from his scheduled route for a spontaneous meeting.
“We made a detour to Aspen because Lance Armstrong agreed to sit and talk with me for an hour to talk about the RideForPKD and do a little photo shoot. He put on our gear and he’s going to promote the ride through his social channels, so it was a pretty awesome day and a good reason to change the course and make a stop in Aspen,” Frommer said.
From temperatures in the 30s in the morning to 100-plus in the afternoons and extremely windy conditions, Frommer has biked through it all. But the views make up for it.
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“The word ‘spectacular’ gets overused but riding along the Pacific Coast Highway from Monterrey to Big Sur or riding next to the rim of the Grand Canyon and through Bryce Canyon National Park is spectacular,” Frommer said.
In 2014, Frommer was diagnosed with PKD, an inherited, untreatable, incurable, progressive disease that afflicts 600,000 people in the U.S. and 12.4 million people globally. Frommer’s goal is to raise over $500,000 for additional research grants to help find a cure.
So far, Frommer has met many people along the way, from researchers at big universities to other people who have PKD currently, who are on dialysis, who have already had kidney transplants or family members who have lost loved ones to the disease.
“It was very important to meet other PKD patients to expose them to the hope and the promise that these researchers are trying to provide to the PKD community,” Frommer said.
But Frommer would also meet complete strangers who ended up giving amounts large and small.
While traveling through Navajo Nation in Cameron, Arizona, Frommer met a 12-year-old boy named Linkin who was curious about Frommer’s ride across the U.S.
“He just sat with me and starts chatting, asking me all sorts of questions. ‘What are you doing? Why are you doing this? What’s the disease? Why don’t you just get some medicine?’ and I explained what I was doing and my goals and objectives. Later that night, he pulled five crumpled-up dollar bills out of his pocket and said, ‘I want you to have this for the charity,’” Frommer said.
Frommer’s support vehicle and sleeping quarters is the RV driven by his wife of 37 years, Beth Frommer. They stay at campgrounds along the way and meet people who want to donate, too.
“We were at a campground in Williams, Arizona, and we had a banner for the RideForPKD on the side of the RV and a couple asked us what we were doing, so we told them. They ended up making a $1,000 donation to the PKD Foundation,” Frommer said.
The kindness and generosity didn’t end there. The next day, Frommer was on a 74-mile ride throughout the high desert of Arizona and around mile 50, Frommer spots a large vehicle on the side of the road.
“There’s an RV parked and there are two people standing outside, waving their arms, about a half-mile in the distance, and I can’t figure out why anyone would be trying to track me down?”
It was Tim and Tifany Rule, the couple who had donated the $1,000 the night before to the RideForPKD.
“They knew my route and had passed me earlier, then parked, set up and waited for me and invited me in, made me quesadillas for lunch, ice cream for dessert, and it was amazing for complete strangers to say, ‘Hey, there’s a reason we met you and you came into our lives and we feel connected.’ So, there are just a ton of stories like that. It’s people like Linkin and the Rules who are just an example of people’s generosity.”
Frommer will be biking through Vail later this week and he invites anyone interested to come ride with him. He will be leaving from the Vail Transportation Center at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday where the route goes from Vail to Keystone. On Sunday he will ride from Keystone to Chief Hosa along the Front Range.
Riders are asked to register in advance and commit to raising a minimum of $250 on behalf of the charity. The PKD Foundation supports riders with an events page and will keep track of the donations with everything going directly to the PKD Foundation.
After Frommer rides through Colorado, he will head through Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, and onward to the east coast, meeting with researchers, patients, potential donors and new friends. He is scheduled to arrive in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, on Labor Day weekend. As of press time, Frommer had already raised almost $430,000 toward his $500,000 goal.
To learn more about the RideForPKD, how to raise money and how you can ride with Frommer go to RideForPKD.org.