The Saunders family (Travis, Fiona and Patch) want to use their bicycle trip to help change the narrative around disability, and particularly autism, to a positive one.
They will be self-supported as they ride from Washington State to Washington DC starting in mid July 2016.
Travis will be teaming up with his son, seven year old Patch, to ride a semi recumbent Hase Pino tandem. Fiona will be taking on the role of chief support crew and riding every kilometre next to the boys on a foldable bike.
Patch has come so far since he was diagnosed with autism at 21 months of age. He has received thousands of hours of dedicated therapy to help him be able to communicate and connect with the world around him. He is largely non-verbal and his greatest leaps in learning have come from combining teaching with his love of movement.
His strengths include his love of the outdoors and curiosity about new environments, and his curriculum on this trip will be based on his interests.
Travis’ commitment to the autism community has been strong for years. He ran 12 marathons in 12 months in 2013 to raise autism awareness, understanding and acceptance and founded the web platform www.run4autism.net. This has raised more than $150,000 for 10 Australian not for profit organisations. A few hundred people have used the platform to raise funds and awareness, and Run4Autism has featured in the media more than 50 times.
The bicycle trip will start in Anacortes (near Seattle) and follow the Adventure Cycling Association Northern Tier route through Washington, Montana and North Dakota.
The route then traverses many rail trails through Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan and country roads through Ohio to reach Pittsburgh. It finishes with the Great Allegheny Passage and Chesapeake and Ohio canal trails through Pennsylvania, Maryland and West Virginia. The goal is to reach Washington DC in early October.
For more information, interviews or details you can contact Travis here.