Why I’m on a bike

Family and Friends:

I have (possibly foolishly) decided to ride across the country on my bicycle this summer. From Charlottesville, VA to Manhattan Beach, CA, I will no doubt experience the most mountainous and flattest, the most humid and driest, and the friendliest and most barren parts of the US.

I am dedicating this ride to my father, Larry Cline, who has frontotemporal dementia. We began to see changes in his behavior and personality in his mid 40’s, when I was heading off to college. As the genetic disease progressed, it became increasingly difficult for him to show empathy, behave appropriately in social settings, and care for himself. Put simply, our family was slowly losing a husband and father. Today, he is in an assisted living home with a full time staff to care for him.

I write to you today with a request for fundraising support. I am riding for my Dad and to raise awareness and funds for AFTD (the Association of Frontotemporal Degeneration – http://www.theaftd.org). What better way to stay motivated when staring at a 5,000’ ascent in the Rockies than to ride for a cause and in honor of a loved one? It will be one of my most difficult summers, but it will be worth it at the end. (I mean, who wouldn’t want tree trunks for legs?)

There is no minimum donation and all are appreciated. If you donated a penny for every mile, that’d be about $40 (this is going to be a looong ride!). To donate online, just go to AFTD’s fundraising page at http://www.theaftd.org/about/get-involved/donate/electronically and follow the directions.  In the “Name of person for tribute” section, please type Larry Cline. Or you can send a check to:

Radnor Station Building 2, Suite 320
290 King of Prussia Road
Radnor, PA 19087

Please note in the check memo that it is in honor of my Dad, Larry Cline.

Thank you in advance for your generous support!

In search of tailwinds and smooth roads,


How it all began

UVa Graduation

31 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Sharon Denny on June 27, 2011 at 12:42 pm

    Brandon –

    Thanks so much for taking this on! We’ll all be cheering for you that your legs stay strong and the weather kind…I know your determination and focus will be crystal clear the whole way.

    Good luck!


    • Posted by bcline909 on June 30, 2011 at 2:13 pm

      Thanks, Sharon! Feel free to use any of the pictures in this blog for the AFTD fundraising event article.


      • Posted by Nancy Raybourne on June 30, 2011 at 7:26 pm

        Brandon- I am delighted to be able to contribute to your cause. My husband died in Oct 2009 from a degenerative brain disease which was originally diagnosed as FTD/CBD. My son who was about your age at the time gave up his job and came to live with us to help care for his Dad for the last six months of his life. It is wonderful to see young people involved in fighting this disease. Best of luck to you on your trip!
        Nancy Raybourne

      • Posted by bcline909 on July 2, 2011 at 2:27 pm

        thanks for the support, Nancy! that’s amazing that your son came home to help care for his father. in a way, I think this disease brings family closer together.

  2. […] Brandon Cline is riding his bike from from Charlottesville, VA to Manhattan Beach, CA . He is dedicating his ride to his father, Larry who was diagnosed with FTD in 2006 and is currently living in a long term care facility in Cincinnati, OH. He has made his ride a fundraiser for AFTD. If you donated a penny for every mile, that would be about $40 (this will be a long ride).  Check out his blog to follow him on his journey https://bclineinjapan.wordpress.com/why-im-on-a-bike/. […]


  3. Posted by caitlinmuir on June 30, 2011 at 1:58 pm

    My dad, also named Larry, has FTD as well…I think our moms are in the same support group because I heard about a “son who is biking across America” to raise money. I’m guessing that’s you.

    It’s hard living with someone who has FTD. It’s hard not knowing how to explain the disease. I’m a writer and words always escape me. But I’m not the only one with that struggle. Thanks for raising support and awareness about this disease. Best of luck!


    • Posted by bcline909 on July 2, 2011 at 2:25 pm

      thanks Caitlin! does your mother go to a support group in the Mason/Cincinnati area? If so, they might be in the same one!


      • Posted by caitlinmuir on July 7, 2011 at 7:33 pm

        No…she’s in one in Oregon. But she’s also part of a national group that meets on the phone.

  4. Posted by Sue G on July 3, 2011 at 3:26 am

    When do you begin your journey? I will be cheering from Canada


    • Posted by bcline909 on July 3, 2011 at 3:55 am

      hi Sue, I left on June 18th, and probably make it to the west coast by the end of August!


  5. […] Tall Guy On A Bike Brandon’s dad has a disease. It’s called Frontal Temporal Dementia. My dad has the same disease. Brandon is biking across America to raise money and awareness about the disease. I think that’s stellar. […]


  6. Posted by Diane on July 10, 2011 at 3:42 pm

    Thank you for doing this. My husband of 30 years also has FTD. He too is in a long term care facility. I wish my sons (your age) would find the emotional strength to do what you are doing. We all struggle to come to terms with this tragic turn of events in our lives.

    Best of luck to you and be safe.
    Where are you now?


    • Posted by bcline909 on July 10, 2011 at 10:05 pm

      thanks for the support, Diane! I just made it to Oblong, IL, and randomly found a park with internet access 🙂 trying to find someone in st. louis to host me for a day to rest my legs. still pedalin’ along. take care!


  7. Posted by Kelly on July 13, 2011 at 5:05 am

    Not sure if you know anyone in Manhattan Beach, but my boyfriend and I are in the area and inspired by your journey and would love to take you out for a drink while you are in town.


    • Posted by bcline909 on July 13, 2011 at 4:02 pm

      hey Kelly, thanks for the offer! I actually grew up in manhattan beach, so my family’s there, but I’d love to go out for drinks when I arrive.


  8. Posted by Sherrie DuVareny on July 15, 2011 at 1:13 am

    Brandon, I feel your pain. My 77 year old aunt is also in an assisted living facility with a memory care unit. They are having a hard time with her bladder & behavior. The Doctors thinks it’s FTD too. I also have the love to bike ride and have done a few MS tours so I know how your legs must feel. Best of luck with the ride and your Dad.
    Sherrie from Massachusetts.


    • Posted by bcline909 on July 15, 2011 at 1:54 am

      thanks, Sherrie! I’m sorry to here about your aunt, but I’m glad AFTD allows us to connect and share our empathy with each other. My legs actually aren’t that sore; at the end of the day, it’s usually the butt and hands that hurt 🙂


  9. Posted by Becca on July 15, 2011 at 11:29 pm

    Brandon, I also have a parent with FTD. My mom who is only 68 years old, she was diagnosed almost 4 years now. My husband and I remodeled her home so we could live with her and try to keep her at home for as long as possible.As you know every day is a challenge not only for us but for her too. I’m glad you are trying to bring more awareness to this disease.I look forward to see your posts as you complete your journey.Best of Luck on your ride and know you are not alone .Be safe.. Becca


    • Posted by bcline909 on July 16, 2011 at 9:40 pm

      Becca, that’s amazing that you were able to remodel your mother’s house in order to live with her. she has a very special daughter. thanks for the safe wishes!


  10. Posted by b on July 23, 2011 at 9:50 pm

    I am interested to see if you and your family were able to find any support (ie: support groups or other) in the area during your time dealing with this disease? I have found that there is little no support for these early onset dementias. I am interested in providing folks with resources as there are probably more of us out there dealing with this sort of thing than we are aware.

    best of luck with the ride!


  11. Posted by Shirley Marcucci on July 30, 2011 at 11:15 am

    Thank you so much for sharing your journey. My husband has had the disease going on 5 yrs now. My daughter and grandchildren just moved in with me to help me take care of him. Its truly amazing to see how much the grandchildren help him. Your story inspires us all to keep going on those tough days.


    • Posted by bcline909 on July 30, 2011 at 4:24 pm

      Shirley, it also amazes me seeing how much my siblings have matured while taking care of our dad. I likewise am inspired to keep going from reading all of your kind comments, so thank you!


  12. […] Tall Guy On A Bike Brandon’s dad has a disease. It’s called Frontal Temporal Dementia. My dad has the same disease. Brandon is biking across America to raise money and awareness about the disease. I think that’s stellar. […]


  13. Wow.
    My sister in law was just diagnosed with FTD 2 weeks ago. It has been a rough and challenging road so far, full of so many questions and so much fear. It wasn’t until 2 weeks ago that doctors finally sat us down and said “this is what is wrong”. In that time I have done a lot of personal research on this unfamiliar (to me) disease, and in doing so discovered your blog.
    I am so completely inspired by your actions, your writing, and your general outlook. I just lost an hour getting [happily] sucked into this blog! Anyway I believe you’ve already reached Denver but if you need a place to stay in Denver please know we have a bed with your name on it!
    Thanks for your beautiful vision and thanks for taking the time to share it on this blog. I’ll be rooting for you!

    Best, Summer Nicklasson


    • Posted by bcline909 on August 7, 2011 at 2:32 am

      hi Summer! sorry it has taken me so long to get back to you – for some reason, wordpress put your comment in my spam folder. anyway, I’m so sorry to hear about your sister-in-law, though I’m glad the doctors correctly informed you and you’ve been able to do personal research. I wish I had read this when I was in Denver – I would’ve visited! I’m currently in Lander, WY, about to head into the Tetons/Yellowstone area in a couple days. glad you’re enjoying the blog, more posts are on the way!


  14. Posted by Paul Lester on August 17, 2011 at 11:56 pm

    Hi Brandon, as the spouse of someone who has FTD and a friend of Gail’s, I’m so impressed with your love and dedication. Thank you for riding in honor of your dad and for bringing additional attention to this horrible disease. Best of luck as you continue your journey. God bless you and keep you safe.


    • Posted by bcline909 on August 19, 2011 at 1:59 am

      Paul, thanks for the comment! I’m sorry to hear about your spouse, but I’m glad she has a heartfelt husband to care for her. I’ll continue rolling!


  15. Posted by cynthia jones on August 24, 2011 at 12:37 pm

    My mom was diagnosed 7 years ago and is now in a nursing home. She is unable to speak or care for herself. This disease sucks and i wish there were more people who knew about this, and not mis-diagnose it all the time! Hope your ride goes great, and you raise lots of money for the organization!! Will be cheering you on from Canada!


    • Posted by bcline909 on August 24, 2011 at 5:33 pm

      I’m sorry to hear about your mom, Cynthia; I know how difficult it is, that’s exactly why I’m doing this ride. thanks for the cheers!


  16. Posted by reid bailey (UVa SIE) on December 30, 2011 at 1:54 am


    Great to see you doing this to honor your Dad and to give back. I just read about this on UVA Today.


    • Posted by bcline909 on January 3, 2012 at 2:51 am

      Professor Bailey – Great to hear from you! I was pleasantly surprised to see UVa Today take interest in the bike ride. I’m now back in Charlottesville, enjoying living with friends, spending time with my brother (a 1st year Wahoo), and feeling ambivalent about upcoming cold weather. Hope all is well with you!


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