New Orleans man bikes 6,500 miles for his nephew with Down Syndrome

Published: Mar. 3, 2023 at 9:32 PM CST
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DAUPHIN ISLAND, Ala. (WALA) - There’s an extraordinary story making its way across the Gulf Coast. One man is biking over 6,000 miles across the country for his nephew with Down Syndrome.

Brother Chris Sweeney started in New Orleans Wednesday, and Friday, he’s on Dauphin Island. His destination is San Francisco, and it’s expected to take five months.

He’s calling it “Ride for Reid.”

“He’s special needs because he is a special person,” said Sweeney. “You can’t help but smile around Reid. He loves to dance.”

Sweeney has spent the last 12 years overseas as a missionary in Africa. He’s on a one-year sabbatical and wanted to use his time wisely.

He’s always wanted to do a long bike tour, and now has even more reason to.

“He’s just a great kid, and we wanted to do something to ensure he has a great future,” he said.

He rides his bike loaded with 70 pounds of gear, for all types of terrain.

“I specifically started in the south just to kind of get myself in shape and get ready for the mountains that I know are coming up,” he said.

His goal is to open a café in New Orleans, fully staffed by people with special needs, and he aims to name it “Reid Rocks Café.”

“Reid loves all the attention, he’s just a normal kid,” said Sweeney. “Five minutes with Reid and your jaw hurts because you’ve been smiling, and that’s their gift for us all, I think.”

Sweeney’s goal is to raise $100,000 from the ride. So far, they are at $40,000, and all the money goes toward opening Reid Rocks Café.

To donate, click here.

Saturday, Sweeney heads for Perdido Key.