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In 2020, the Long Reach Long Riders have had to pivot, along with the rest of the world, as we adapt to the changing conditions necessitated by Covid-19.

Given that we recognize the need for charitable giving is greater now than ever before, the LRLR have decided to replace our normal group ride for one year only with a relay ride across America. We will relay an oversized kazoo (what else?) from Half Moon Bay, CA to Lubec, ME. With historic lighthouse photo ops bookending the start and finish of the ride and plenty of scenery in between, the LRLR will continue their 2020 mission as founded over 17 years ago, raising funds to help those in our industry who find themselves in trying times.

In 2019 we lost a founding member of the LRLR, a man whose tenacity, generosity and thirst for seeing new horizons from the seat of a motorcycle defined him. Those attributes in many ways define the best in all of us, or at least help define what we should strive to be.

We feel it’s only fitting to honor that man by making this year’s ride a celebration of his remarkable life and by adopting his motto as he dealt with the various challenges that life threw in his path – “Just Breathe”.

And so (drum roll please) we’d like to formally announce the LRLR 2020 “Just Breathe” Kazoo Relay Across America – A Celebration of the Life of Cris Dopher.

Cris’ tenacity, often in the face of overwhelming odds, taught us to keep going no matter what. “Just Breathe” – what a humbling mantra from a man diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis at age 5, who not only defied all odds by living far longer than any doctor believed possible, but who went on to get his MFA in lighting design, work on Broadway, become a long distance runner, teach college, design renowned holiday windows in NY, ride a motorcycle all over the US and Canada, including a NY to Alaska run… all while also surviving a double lung transplant, dealing with at least 3 bouts of cancer - including in his transplanted lungs – and surviving a horrific motorcycle crash that finally slowed him down, but only just a bit.

Cris’ generosity was an ongoing, palpable engine of its own. He was always willing to give of self, time, talent and money to help others in need. His contributions to the LRLR team, as great as they were, pale in comparison with his work with the Boomer Esiason Foundation and with Ellie’s Fund. His training of others in Vectorworks and in lighting design means that his legacy lives on through their well-educated efforts. He guided and mentored fellow members of his extended CF family. His poignant and soul-searching writings on everything from dealing with CF to watching a sunrise over a still lake have imprinted his well-crafted thoughts onto thousands of readers who are richer for the experience.

Cris’ thirst for knowledge was also a driving factor in what made him who he was. Not only formal education knowledge, in which he obviously excelled both as a student and teacher, but also as a seeker into how things worked, why they worked (or sometimes didn’t) and how he could make all of that better. Growing up on a farm gave him a sense of independence and an attitude of “I can fix this, I can make this better”. Living in the big city allowed him to apply those principles in larger terms.

Cris was also possessed by a burning desire to experience new roads and towns and meet new people from the seat of a motorcycle. His exulting in the pure pleasure and freedom of soaring across North America only inches from the pavement gave the rest of us in the LRLR the opportunity to meet and get to know this remarkable man. We all shared miles, meals and memories and each of us is better off for having known him.

It’s the least we can do to honor his life and legacy with a celebration ride, and having to pivot for 2020 in the face of unexpected challenges is the perfect time to do it. We hope you’ll join us in recognizing that even in the face of great personal challenges, the need is still there and so is the spirit of great men like Cris Dopher. Please join us by contributing whatever you can to help those who need it even more this year.