It wasn’t Sam Gloyd’s first bike ride across the United States, but it was the first time he’d done it in 54 years.
The 74-year-old cycling enthusiast from Natick, Massachusetts, has been working for a nonprofit organization called Family Promise, which helps families struggling with homelessness or who are at risk of becoming homeless.
He is now pedaling from coast to coast across America with the purpose of helping to alleviate that problem while raising awareness about homelessness.
The last time Gloyd rode his bike across the United States was in 1966.
“I was 20 years old at the time,” he told WCVB.
Recently, the ongoing pandemic shutdown has created a major challenge for the charitable organization, as unemployment and homelessness have surged, and finding shelter for families has also become much more costly.
Gloyd had worked as a van driver for Family Promise, and his main task was driving the kids they serve to school. After schools were closed due to virus-containment measures, however, his services were less in demand.
As for his bike trip, initially, he had simply planned to ride to Indiana to visit relatives. However, supporting the cause of helping homeless families had inspired him to ambitiously chart a new course. And so, the cycling senior set out on his own from Natick cross country in the second week of June, and he’s been making good time since then.
“It’s been roughly 50 to 70 miles a day,” he told the news outlet.
Gloyd sleeps in a collapsible tent along the journey.
Staff members of the nonprofit were a bit worried when Gloyd first announced his intention to ride across America, and they offered him shelter along the way—the organization has 200 affiliates across the country. And, the cyclist has also been chronicling the non-profit’s work during his visits.
“The fact that he’s on his bike, going across the country, it’s inspiring,” said Susan Crossley, executive director of Family Promise Metrowest in Natick.
“He’s such a good guy,” said Carole Brodrick, the organization’s director of development. “He’s willing to do anything and everything for us.
“He sends back pictures and posts. We’re trying to update our Facebook page as quickly as we get photos from him.”
Brodrick noted that the ongoing lockdown has had a significant financial impact on families struggling with shelter. “About 30 percent of the families lost their jobs completely or reduced their income,” she explained.
The organization normally makes arrangements for families to stay at local churches, but they have had to turn to hotels in order to house families in need, drastically running up costs.
“We went from something that was pro bono to being over $8,000 a month,” Crossley shared.
Now, Family Promise has set up a funding campaign highlighting Gloyd’s cross-country trip, called Cycling with Sam, where supporters can contribute to helping families who are facing homelessness in Massachusetts.