PORT ANGELES — A Scottish-born bicyclist is expected to arrive in Port Angeles today to end the first day of a 1,800-mile ride to honor the lives of two friends who died because of cystic fibrosis and leukemia.
Will King, 32, of London began his ride this morning in Vancouver, B.C., to raise awareness for organ and tissue donation, encourage donor registration and raise funds for the Anthony Nolan donor matching service and the Cystic Fibrosis Trust.
King’s friends Milly Douglas-Pennant and Millie Forbes both died before the age of 30.
Douglas-Pennant died at age 29 of cystic fibrosis, and Forbes died of leukemia at age 23.
Both diseases can be treated through organ or tissue donation, which can improve a patient’s quality of life and extend or save a life, King said.
“Most people with cystic fibrosis need a lung transplant at some time in their lives,” he said.
Forbes, who was 21 when she was diagnosed, was on a donor list for a bone-marrow transplant.
“They never found a match for her,” King said,.
Donations can be made at one of several websites King established for his solo trip.
“It goes straight to the charities,” he said.
To donate to the Cystic Fibrosis Trust, visit www.justgiving.com/willgoeswanderingcf.
To donate to the Anthony Nolan organization, go to www.justgiving.com/willgoeswanderingan.
King said he plans to ride about 50-65 miles per day for five or six weeks to reach San Diego, where he has friends and family waiting to greet him at the end of his journey.
The solo ride will follow U.S. Highway 101 from the time he enters Port Angeles and will stay on the roadway as he travels through Forks and beyond to Los Angeles, where he will switch to coastal roads to San Diego.
“I plan to hug the coast all the way down,” he said.
King carries camping equipment for most nights, but if the weather becomes severe or there are no available campsites, he said he plans on staying in hotels, with friends who live along the route or with generous hosts willing to take him in the for the night.
It’s by far the longest trip he has ever attempted, he said.
He has trained by making twice daily 15-mile rides while commuting to work, practicing with several 65-mile rides and embarking on a 330-mile trip from London to Amsterdam, utilizing a ferry.
Training in London has prepared him for riding in tight spaces with cars, but dodging log trucks on Highway 101 will be a new experience, he said.
King said he will dress in plenty of bright neon colors to increase his visibility for safety.
Starting his trip in the north in early spring means the weather may be changeable, but he is prepared for storms and expects that the weather will get better as he travels south.
He said he plans a second ride this summer, beginning in San Diego and arriving in Colombia by the end of August.
He then will return to Scotland take part in the Lonach Highland Gathering and Games.