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It’s no secret that Denverites are volunteer and bike-riding fanatics, and Michael Upp is no different. As a self-proclaimed “weekend warrior” bike rider and SafeHouse Denver board member, he wanted to use this hobby to help out the organization, which assists domestic violence victims, in an attention-grabbing way: Rack up the miles while raking in the money.
“I wanted to do something unique, something I enjoy, and something people can rally around,” Upp says. “People can identify with riding.” So, Upp decided to pump up his tires and and ride 1,000 miles in May. He started a pledge page on Coloradogives.org and began tallying miles. “Every time I rode, I was riding specifically for that purpose,” he says. He rode about 32 miles each day, and, during a trip to California, he accumulated 100 miles. He recorded his mileage via Twitter and Facebook, and in his first 12 days rode 380 miles. He was on track to reach his goal when Upp was struck by a car while riding his bicycle just two weeks into his fundraiser. He suffered road rash and various injuries to his rib, head, and shoulder. Upp’s SafeHouse-inspired bike rides were finished—at least for the month of May.
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The crash sidelined him, but family and friends quickly fastened on their helmets to bring in the unfinished miles. His wife, cousins, in-laws, and others—some of whom rarely hit the roads with two wheels—continued the fundraiser. Even his 11-year-old son took a spinning class for the cause. The result? One thousand miles and about $2,300 to donate to SafeHouse. “Compared to what some women and kids go through and for me to just ride a bike, it’s nothing,” Upp says. “It’s all about SafeHouse.”
Get Involved: Read more about SafeHouse Denver in “Escape,” a story of one woman who called SafeHouse for help.