Fishers resident Dan Farrell is passionate about cycling and giving back to others, so he wanted to connect the two.
That’s why the 73-year-old biked 8,428 miles this year to raise $50,000 for the completion of Faith in Deeds, a new orphanage in India, which needed $50,000 to complete. Farrell determined the cycling mileage on the distance from Fishers to India.
“I wanted my passion for biking to lend itself to helping others in some way, shape or form,” he said. “It was kind of challenging to see how you could bring those two together.”
After learning about Noblesville resident Dave Schweikert, who biked for 24 hours around a roundabout in Carmel, Farrell figured he could accomplish a similar feat.
He recently topped 7,000 miles for the year and expects to reach 12,000 by year’s end. He expects to hit the 8,428 objective near Sept. 1. He tracks his mileage with Ride with GPS. So far, he’s raised a little more than $3,000 of his goal.
“So, I have a ways yet to go,” he said.
To reach his mileage goal, Farrell bikes to and from work each day. He works at Frontier Communications in Cicero as a safety manager.
Each morning, he begins biking around 5 a.m. He leaves his Fishers home, makes his way to Carmel on 116th Street, then hops on the Monon and takes the trail north to Sheridan. Then, he returns from Sheridan to Westfield, uses the Midland Trace Trail to get to Hague Road and then takes Hague Road to Cicero. He bikes three hours each morning.
“I’m not very speedy, so I get about 42 miles in there, and then at night, on the way home, I’m able to pick up 20 or 25 or sometimes 30 miles or so by taking country roads from Cicero back to Fishers,” he said.
Farrell, a year-round cyclist, bikes with a Salsa Vaya Touring.
“I do bike in the winter,” he said. “When things get messy, I have a fat-tire bike, which is a bike that has extremely wide tires that are 4 inches wide. What’s nice about that is, they go in snow, ice, sand. You can use them just about anywhere. That’s a Salsa Mukluk.”
Farrell became interested in cycling after he ran marathons and half-marathons for several years.
“That takes a toll, so I was looking for something a little less stressful,” he said.
Through the years, Farrell has biked in Canada, Estonia and Sweden and has taken several tours throughout the U.S.
He began taking cycling seriously in the mid-1980s.
“I just wanted to be in a position where I could bike back and forth to work,” he said. “So probably eight to 10 years ago, I came up with the logistics and planned out how I was able to bike back and forth to work. I’ve done that a number of years and really enjoyed it. It’s one of those things that seemed to be physically demanding to some degree, but I’m a morning person, so that helps tremendously to get that excitement and inspiration up in the morning with that type of thing with the sun rising.
“Biking to me has really been the type of experience in which you’re able to, one way or another, be in tune with nature. It’s a great form of exercise, it’s a green way of transportation and it’s been a win-win all around.”
To track Farrell’s progress or to donate, visit oneorange.org/ride-to-india/.
Dan Farrell has cycled many times throughout Canada, Estonia, Sweden and the United States. His major U.S. trips include: the West Coast, 1,800 miles; Anacotes, Wash. to Fargo, N.D., 1,500 miles; the Florida Keys, 194 miles; the Natchez Trace Parkway, 444 miles; the Blue Ridge Parkway/Skyline Drive, 574 miles; Katy Trail, Mo.: 240 miles; the RAIN ride across Indiana, 160 miles; the Ohio western border to Columbus, Ohio, 108 miles; the Ohio TOSRV bike tour, 210 miles; the Wisconsin rail-to-trails, 100 miles; the New York Erie Canal, 363 miles; the North Carolina Outerbanks, 120 miles; the Maryland/Pennsylvania Great Allegheny Passage, 150 miles and the Maryland C&O Canal Towpath, 184 miles.