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.”

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