Guest column: The 2015 Karma Ride

Andre Block

Andre Block is pictured outside the former Kroger store on South Illinois Avenue in August 2012. (File photo/Mare Martell)

 

By Mare Martell

– August 30, 2012

Outside of the old Kroger store, I met a man named Andre Block purely by chance. He had a trailer on the back of his bike with a cardboard hand written sign that read, “Virginia to Missouri for my son.”

He was riding 822 miles from Virginia to Missouri to see his son Andre Block Jr. Read the original post here.

His ride successful, he returned to Knoxville to settle in, that is, until his pedaling feet got the itch again.

– May 24, 2015

Outside of the new Kroger store, I met a man named Andre Block purely by chance. He had a trailer on the back of his bike with a cardboard hand written sign that read, “Karma Ride.” This time, Mr. Block has chosen an even bigger piece of the pie. He started off in Knoxville, Tennessee, yesterday (May 23) on a 2,600-mile trip that will land him in Venice Beach, California.

It was a grand reunion with hugs and laughter, but the seriousness of the cause Karma Ride is riding for this time is something important to Andre. He’s riding across the country to raise awareness of Lupus. [Read more…]

Virginia bicyclist pedals to St. Louis for son, health clinic

Andre Block

Andre Block stops in Oak Ridge as he pedals from Lynchburg, Va., to St. Louis to see his son and raise money for the Free Clinic of Central Virginia. (Photo by Mare Martell)

Andre Block, 32, parked his bike with a trailer outside the Kroger grocery on Illinois Avenue. A duct-taped sign on the back of the trailer said, “Lynchburg to St. Louis for my son.” Dressed in biking shorts, a camel pack for water, a helmet, and a gleaming smile, Block laughed easily as he explained the sign.

He hadn’t been on a bike since he was 13 years old, he said, but took up the activity on May 8. The bike he had was in very poor shape, but he started training with a passion. During his training, he flipped his bike and trailer over once and nearly ran over Steve Bartholomew.

“I was going down a steep hill and saw Steve coming up it,” Block said. “That’s when I realized I didn’t have any brakes, so I yelled down ‘On your right!’ I should have said ‘On your left!” but it all worked out. I missed him, and I finally got the bike stopped.”

[Read more…]