SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – Gregory Maassen, PH.D. is the first person to ride an electric bike cross-country. His four-month-long journey ended Tuesday in San Francisco at 11:00 a.m.
Maassen was diagnosed with peripheral neuropathy, a condition that targets his nerves and causes areas of his body to numb. He credits physical activity, including e-biking, with helping him manage his symptoms.
His journey started in Washington DC on April 2 as a fundraiser of one cent per mile to support the Foundation for Peripheral Neuropathy (FPN). The nonprofit organization provides research and awareness for the condition. He raised $150,00 during his ride.
Maassen is a native of the Netherlands and brought a pair of traditional wooden Dutch shoes that he had strapped to his bike during the ride. He took his American citizen exam during his trip on April 29, and was sworn in on May 21, starting his trip as a Dutch national and ending as a U.S. citizen.
Maassen rode 4,500 miles on his e-bike with an average speed of 11.9 miles per hour. He cycled an extra 160 miles round-trip to see his wife in Boulder, Wyoming, a detour from the town of Laramie.
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Maassen reported that the hardest part of the trip were places with bad weather, experiencing rain 40% of his trip. He reportedly came across someone with peripheral neuropathy who knew of his fundraising efforts every day of his trip.
In a statement released Tuesday, he says, “This fundraiser, using an e-bike to traverse the Lincoln Highway for the very first time, is a tribute to the special friendship between the Dutch and the Americans.” He added, “it celebrates the longest uninterrupted peaceful relationship that the United States has with any foreign country. This journey also supports millions of people everywhere suffering with peripheral neuropathy.”