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Four cyclists touching all the bases in Major League Baseball to help children

Peanuts. Cracker Jack. Hot dogs.

And biking?

Adam Kremers, Steve Lunn, Rex Roberts and Chase Higgins are the four-man team that makes up Biking For Baseball, an organization that's raising awareness and money for youth mentoring programs across the country with a concept that took nearly three years to set in motion.

The quartet will travel to all 30 Major League Baseball ballparks, hosting an event in each community to reach as many people as possible.

All by bicycle.

The idea began when Kremers and Higgins, Kansas City natives, attended a season-ending game in 2009 between the Kansas City Royals and Minnesota Twins in Minneapolis. Higgins, now living in Minneapolis, hosted Kremers, who flew in from Denver.

"Before the game, we were talking about how it would be amazing if you could take all of the things that you love, combine them all together and come out with a goal and a sustainable career that you had an unwavering passion for, day in and day out," Kremers said.

• • •

All four share a passion for endurance sports: Kremers and Roberts, triathlons; Higgins, marathons; Lunn, a trekker, including taking multiday trips throughout South America.

"Chase and I grew up running for our high school cross country and track teams," Kremers said. "It continued into college, dipping into triathlons and longer distance running races. As we started our careers, we commuted to work via bicycle and ramped up our endurance races into marathons and longer distance triathlons. Traveling by two wheels instead of four had merged into our lives as our favorite source of travel.

"So we thought, "Let's ride our bicycles to each MLB stadium."

While the foundation for Biking For Baseball was created in 2009, the deeper purpose had yet to be born. In the winter of 2009, Kremers became active with the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Colorado. Since early childhood, Kremers and Higgins loved baseball. They grew up playing the sport and both had coaches who doubled as mentors.

"After having such great teachers, coaches and mentors growing up, it really instilled the idea that, being a positive influence toward the development of a kid goes a long way," Kremers said. "Seeing that firsthand through the BBBS program, allowed us the opportunity to find a great cause."

• • •

This is the first trip of this length or endurance for any of the men. All four riders live in cold climates (Kremers and Roberts in Denver, Lunn in South Korea, Higgins in Minneapolis) but compensated with indoor training. The cold locales might explain why they made it to the beach last week.

"We used our training for our various races over the previous years as a great foundation," Higgins said, "but we had to ramp it up as soon as Biking For Baseball formed as a nonprofit and the journey became a tangible dream."

They began their journey on April 13 in Seattle and have checked 11 stadiums and youth baseball clinics off their list while cycling 4,700 miles. By the conclusion of this adventure in Boston on Sept. 21, they will have eclipsed over 11,000 miles — all on two wheels.

They arrived in the Tampa Bay area last week and held their event at Skyway Park with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Tampa. They also attended a Rays-Marlins game at Tropicana Field.

• • •

Their belief for youth mentoring programs starts with their mantra: every kid needs a coach.

"Being a positive influence in a kid's life is how the world becomes a better place," Kremers said emphatically. "These kids involved with Big Brothers and Big Sisters, have either a single parent or no parents involved in their lives and are in desperate need of that positive influence in a big city.

"Becoming involved in youth mentoring is such a simple task. Volunteer four hours per month of your time to a kid by encouraging him/her on what they are doing, how they are doing it and what they can become."

In each city they visit, Biking for Baseball has four goals: ride their bicycles to each city; host a baseball clinic with the local youth mentoring program; attend a baseball game of the home team; attract media attention and direct it toward the great local programs.

"The tour, the organization and the relationships created have all been very successful. Two months and 11 youth baseball clinics and 11 MLB teams later . . . our summer is just getting started."

. Fast facts

Biking For Baseball

The organization takes donations through its website (bikingforbaseball.org) and also sells T-shirts through the site.

Four cyclists touching all the bases in Major League Baseball to help children 06/21/12 [Last modified: Thursday, June 21, 2012 5:30am]
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