Cyclist riding for Armstrong
by  JAMIE WOODFORD Citizen Staff

Michael Brichacek is a long ways from home. 4,504 kilometers to be exact and he’s got thousands more to go until he reaches his destination in Panama.

Brichacek is a young man on a mission. He’s riding to help find a cure for cancer. “It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, I love to travel ... and I figured that if I’m going to do it, I might as well do it for a good cause.”

The 20-year-old college student from Windsor, Ont., decided to spend his summer riding from Anchorage, Alaska, to Panama in support of the Lance Armstrong Foundation. Brichacek has seen the effects that cancer has had on some of his close family and friends, which motivates him even more to ride for a cure. He hopes to raise a dollar for every kilometer he rides and so far he has received about US$700.

He will spend about 120 days on the road hauling with him enough supplies for him to live on.

Riding alone, Brichacek lacks an entourage or fellow bikers to keep him company. “Nobody wanted to come with me; they all thought I was crazy,” said Brichacek. “My friends are kind of doubtful, but I’ll prove them wrong.”

Initially Brichacek’s parents were against the idea of their son trekking along the western coast of North America alone, but once Brichacek told them he was going with their support or not, they accepted the idea and now they proudly boast of Brichacek’s accomplishment.

He keeps in constant contact with people at home. “If I don’t send an e-mail to Mom almost every day, she starts to freak out,” said Brichacek.

Most days Brichacek enjoys himself on the road. Other days he wishes he could stop and sleep.

He camps most of the way occasionally taking advantage of a couchsurfing website where he finds people willing to put him up for the night.

So far Brichacek has been able to avoid any danger, save for the “friendly bears” he’s met along the way.

When Brichacek arrives at his destination, he plans to take in the Panama sights for a few days, and then he’s right back to Detroit to finish his degree in chemistry at Wayne State University and eventually study medicine.

You can follow Brichacek’s journey at Donations towards the Lance Armstrong Foundation can also be made online.

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