01/29/06 — Bicyclist rides cross country to raise diabetes awareness

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Bicyclist rides cross country to raise diabetes awareness

By Dennis Hill
Published in News on January 29, 2006 2:04 AM

From staff reports

Ernest "Sonny" Neupert is determined to ride diabetes into the ground.

After 10 months and more than 8,000 miles of cross-country cycling, Neupert, 65, stopped briefly in Goldsboro on Friday, catching a little rest before continuing on his crusade to raise money and awareness for the fight against the disease.

Billing his trip "Uncle Sonny's Bike-A-Thon to Battle Diabetes," he started out last April and expects to wind up back home in Paisley, Fla., in mid-Feburary.

His wife, Jean, who suffers from Type 2 diabetes, and son, Jim, follow along in a support van.

The remarkable thing about his ride is that it's not the first time he's crossed the country by pedal power. Five years ago, he finished a trip to the West Coast and back to promote awareness for the need for more cancer research. A cancer survivor himself, he lost his first wife to the disease.

Between the two trips, he said, he will have visited all 48 contiguous states. Averaging 50 miles a day, Neupert said he has experienced the United States like few people ever do.

"You get to see this beautiful country like most people never see it," he said.

The retired construction worker also lost nearly 100 pounds and is down now to about 165 pounds, he said.

Neupert can't say many donations have been made because of his trip. That's because he asks people to send any contribution to the American Diabetes Association.

To donate, send contributions to: Uncle Sonny's Bike-A-thon, c/o American Diabetes Association, 1101 N. Lake Destiny road, Suite 415, Maitland, Fla. 32751.