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Issue Date: December 2009

The Rough Riders: Paul Renshaw and Dan Rindfleisch, United Way of Greater Cleveland

Jennifer Keirn
Paul Renshaw and Dan Rindfleisch joked for more than six months about biking across the country. “At some point, it became serious,” Renshaw says. “But it wasn’t something I’d do just for fun. I wanted to do something that would get people’s attention.”

So the 23-year-old friends used the 3,300-mile bike trip from Cleveland to Anacortes, Wash., to support United Way of Greater Cleveland and draw attention to Cleveland’s critical health and human service needs.

Averaging 75 to 80 miles a day on the 40-day excursion, they carried 35 pounds of gear on each bike and camped most nights. Rindfleisch initially thought such a trip was “completely insane.”

Sure, it was tough sleeping on hard ground every night (Rindfleisch’s only complaint), and they met some boring stretches — “the first 10 days were nothing but corn,” Renshaw says. But overall, the voyage couldn’t have gone smoother.

“We ran into a lot of friendly people who found out what we were doing and would buy us lunch or let us camp in their backyards,” Renshaw says. “I really didn’t expect that based on how hard hit they were [by the economy].”

Rindfleisch and Renshaw, who works as a business risk consultant, combined their fundraising efforts with Deloitte’s annual United Way campaign, which raised more than $400,000. The pair’s friends and family donated an additional $4,000.

“There’s so much need here,” Renshaw says. “We wanted to show people how far they can push themselves, what they can do to give back to the community.”

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