A Pellissippi freshman plans to embark on his first international bike trip this summer. Thirty-seven-year-old Andre Block says that he will be joined by friend Jonathan Williams for their second trip across North America, except this time Block and Willaims plan to end in Toronto.
Despite his love of bike riding, what really brought Andre to take this journey was his charitable personality. “I am the happiest I can ever be when I’m doing something to help somebody else,” says Block, talking about how he has dedicated his life to aiding others.
Block’s history of long-distance bike riding started in Lynchburg, Virginia when he decided to collect donations for a local free medical clinic during his first profound journey from Lynchburg to St. Louis to see his son. “It absolutely changed my life in so many ways,” he recalled. Along the way, he met a woman named Emily who suffered from lupus and promised her that he would run another fundraiser for lupus awareness. He would ultimately do it in 2015, giving it the title “The Karma Ride.”
“The more attention it drew, the more it felt like this is what I’m supposed to be doing with my life”, Block says about the life-changing experience.
Between fundraisers, Block chooses to live a meager life, finding work where he can. Luckily, the friendly and approachable Andre finds help whenever he needs it most, usually in the form of housing, which serves as a constant inspiration to do more charity.
Block and his friend Jonathan Williams will be doing The Unity Ride 2018, the sequel to their first journey together in 2017 under the same title. The point of The Unity Ride, however, is to promote unity among people in our nation by proving that two completely different people, separated by race, political views and life background, can accomplish the great feat of biking across the continental United States as a team. When asked about how people can work on an ideological division in America, Block asserted “Don’t worry about things you disagree on, work on the things you do agree on.”