Pedaling for a cause was pretty far from R.J. Barnes' mind when he observed a mom reading to her son at the library. They had matching T-shirts with the word "autism" on them, he says, and that's all it took to spur him on to help.
An 18-year-old senior at Benedictine High School, Barnes thought about volunteering part time but then had a grand idea: a fundraising bike trip that will follow the Trans-America Trail from Charlottesville to San Francisco. He plans to start June 5, right after graduation.
"A bike ride seemed like the most reasonable thing to do, because I can raise money in each state I pass through," says the Goochland County resident, who has set a goal to raise $10,000 for autism research, through the Autism Society of America. He had raised $2,600 as of mid-May.
Barnes will carry a cell phone, a GPS, maps and a small laptop computer, so he can post updates on his blog, at rjbarnes32.webs.com. Donations can be made there before Aug. 1.