Riding radio waves

Published 10:20 pm Wednesday, April 8, 2009

By By Adam Prestridge
On the first leg of his 2,200-mile journey, Pat Crawford pedaled his way into Atmore Monday afternoon for some much-needed R&R after battling unexpected weather conditions.
Crawford, 57, had planned to end his first day of his bike trip in Stockton, 35 miles southwest of Atmore, but opted to call it a day after battling the winds.
As executive director for WUWF Public Media, Crawford heads up fundraising efforts. Two years ago, the station decided to take a more zealous approach to their efforts and began Extreme Fundraising that prompted the bike ride, which began in Pensacola, Fla. and will end in Ontario, Canada.
But this isn’t the first “extreme” fundraiser Crawford has been the center of to raise awareness for public radio. Two years ago, he walked from Jacksonville, Fla. to Washington, D.C. to raise funds for the station. After four pairs of Saucony running shoes and 1,000 miles, Crawford raised a great deal of needed funds.
As for the response from community on his newest adventure, Crawford couldn’t be more pleased.
“So far, the results have been good,” he said. “I’ve already raised $12,000, and I just left today.”
The bike expedition entitled Biking the Underground Railroad will follow routes used by American slaves to escape from the South to freedom in Canada, which was mapped by the Adventure Cycling Association.
During his trip, Crawford said he plans on taking in the sites and reflecting. He added that he is not worried about losing his way. His bike, which is loaded down with 56 pounds of packs full of supplies such as a laptop, extra tubes for his tires and his sleeping bag and tent, is equipped with a GPS system.
The ride raises money through various fundraising tied to Crawford’s trip. He said some people are pledging money per mile, but others have gotten creative.
According to Crawford, one man is donating $1 per mile through Ohio.
Other donors are pledging money when Crawford reaches a certain river or state.
WUWF has not set a goal for how much it wants to raise this go-around.
Fatigued from his first day, Crawford setup camp outside Atmore City Hall despite the forecast of temperatures in the upper 30s.
Atmore Mayor Howard Shell said it was the least the city could do for a man with a purpose.
Only one thing dampened Crawford’s spirits about his recent trip to Atmore.
Early Tuesday morning, Crawford took to the airwaves via cell phone from Atmore shortly before heading to Stockton.
The bicyclist also reported that the firemen were “extremely hospitable” and sent him some sausage dogs for dinner.
For those interested in following Crawford’s trek to Canada, listen to 88.1 FM during the drive time or log onto www.wuwf.org
Crawford estimates the trip will take six to eight weeks to complete.

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