Bruce and Teri Brown

  Bruce and Teri Brown, Calabash NC       


Riding Across the US on a Tandem Raising Money for Toys for Tots

Bruce Brown, Assistant Coordinator for the Toys for Tots Calabash NC campaign, and his wife, Teri, are new to ballroom dancing and have recently joined BDPS. You may have met them at the beginner classes in Calabash or at the dances before COVID hit. Although they haven’t been able to dance in public, they are getting ready for what is their ‘adventure of a lifetime.’ Starting June 29th, Bruce and Teri will dip the rear tire of their tandem bicycle into the Pacific Ocean just beyond Astoria, Oregon and ride to Washington, DC, where they will dip the front tire of their tandem in the Potomac River.

In between, they will travel through Oregon, Washington, and Idaho, crossing over the Lolo pass in the Bitterroot Range of the northern Rocky Mountains. From there, they will go across Montana, North Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin. Then, they will take the upper Michigan route around Lake Michigan and across to Lake Erie in Ohio, finally coming to Pennsylvania. Once in Pittsburgh, they will take dedicated bike trails – converted railways and canal toe paths – to DC.

This cross-country ride is something that Bruce has wanted to do since 1976 when he read about a group of college kids who rode from California to Williamsburg to celebrate the bicentennial. He’s been an avid cyclist since he was a child but never got the opportunity to take the bucket-list journey.

On the other hand, Teri, prior to meeting Bruce just over two years ago, hadn’t been on bicycle in nearly 40 years. A self-professed nerd, she had been wanting an adventure for years, and as a now empty-nest mother of four homeschooled children, she finally had the time to do something big –  but wasn’t sure what that might be.

Then, in February 2018, they met and the plan to ride across the country hatched. Since then, they’ve married, trained extensively, lost weight, and planned and replanned. Although COVID-19 put a temporary halt to their ride, the decision was made for the adventure to go on with a few modifications to keep them healthy.

In addition to seeing the countryside at 10 miles per hour, Bruce and Teri are using this trip to raise money for Brunswick and Columbus County Toys for Tots.  They are asking donors to sponsor them at least a penny a mile for the 3700+ mile trip. “That’s only $37,” says Bruce Brown. “It isn’t much to ask, but it will do a lot to help kids in need. For two cents a mile, we can get a child a bicycle, and we never have enough bicycles for every child that wants one.”

Teri Brown, a freelance writer, is using her skills to get a following so they can make their $10,000 goal. Her blog,, began two years ago and describes the preparations from a non-cyclist viewpoint. “I’m not athletic by nature. I’m always using the wrong terminology, which makes my husband either laugh or cringe. But those who read my blog enjoy hearing how a nerd like me prepares to go on an adventure.”

The blog also has the technical details for someone who might want to try such a trip. “Teri writes the color. I write about gear ratios and equipment weight,” Bruce states.

Along the way, Bruce and Teri hope to meet up with other Toys for Tots coordinators, let others ride with them to raise money and awareness, and inform local media outlets about what they are doing and why. “It’s about the kids,” says Bruce. “I’m very passionate about Toys for Tots. Knowing that I’ve helped local children – those I pass in the grocery store or who attend the school where I tutor – makes my Christmas season special.”

Bruce and Teri ask that you sign up to get blog updates – Teri hopes to write several times each week as they travel across the country. They also ask you to consider a donation. The link for donating directly to the local campaign is on the blog or you can go to Thank you in advance for your support of Teri and Bruce as they ride to make a difference for local children.