Self-professed Atlanta ‘Crazy Biker Dude’ David Paris is ready to ride up the Eastern Seaboard for Lost N Found Youth
By Matthew Holley
Brainy, brawny and admittedly maybe just a little crazy, good-natured gay Atlantan David Paris is preparing to take to the road on his bike in just a few weeks, traveling from Atlanta up the East Coast with just the bare necessities.
The former microbiologist for Coca-Cola is about to embark on the adventure of a lifetime.
“It’ll just be me, a change of clothes and whatever money I have to live off Big Macs,” Paris tells David Atlanta. “They are my favorite.”
Paris’ love for biking began about a year ago, when he decided he needed a reset. Taking a break from his career, he set out for Florida, biking all over the state with few supplies and help from some friendly strangers.
“While on hiatus from work until I get my MBA this fall at University of Georgia, I solo biked 1500 miles around Florida, and it was a great experience,” he explains. “Basically, through Couchsurfing.com, you find like-minded people who are willing to let you crash with them for a day or two. … I was able to get a good night’s sleep and take a much needed shower.”
While surfing from couch to couch in between putting the miles on his bike tires, David was constantly asked one common question: Why are you biking?
“For the Florida trip, my initial answer was that I just needed a change and wanted to get out and do something, anything. Now, after such a cool experience, I realized I can turn this next challenge into something even greater.
“Growing up gay in Atlanta, I have seen the difficulties that some gay kids face when their families and friends may not understand them,” he adds. “I decided to set up a YouCaring fundraiser in honor of Lost n Found, Atlanta’s LGBT Youth Shelter.”
David’s YouCaring page breaks down what the money from any potential donation is for, why it is needed, and the rewards givers and receivers alike will reap.
“There are only two problems in this world,” Paris states. “There are 950 homeless LGBT youth in Atlanta, and I will need to eat an ungodly amount of Big Macs when I bike cross country this spring.
“80 percent of the cash given to this campaign will go directly to Lost n Found Youth,” he assures. “The remaining 20 percent will buy as many Big Macs as possible in a desperate attempt to fill the black hole that will be my stomach while I bicycle up the East Coast.”
Anyone who may doubt the good Samaritan’s sincerity needs only to understand Atlanta’s unyielding need for Lost n Found, he says.
“I can attest, being young and gay is a unique and often alienating experience,” Paris says. “Add on top of that the troubles of homelessness – many times caused by coming out – and you can see how having a safe space with people who understand what you’re going through would be super important.”
LNF is the only organization providing that space in Atlanta, Paris says.
“Their youth center sees hundreds of youth each month and provides emergency housing, meals, counseling, job services, and much more. You should check out their website to see all the cool stuff they do – Lnfy.org.”
At this writing, Paris has raised $1,030 of his $2,000 goal on his YouCaring page.
“I am grateful for everyone who wants to give back to the community and is excited about the challenge I have set for myself. It really means a lot.”