573 days, 14 countries, 1 epic bike ride to stop pancreatic cancer

 A Zimmerman, Minn. man biked thousands of miles through South America to raise money for cancer research.

The bike Jim Rienstra nicknamed "Mother Trucker" may be boxed up and a little worse for wear, but after 18 months on the road together, at least one of them made it back to Minnesota in one piece. A whopping 573 days ago, Rienstra left Zimmerman to bike to the southern tip of Argentina to honor his father who died from pancreatic cancer and to raise money for cancer research.

"Trying to get used to this way of life and not living out of a tent and four saddle bags. But, overall it has been amazing," he said.

He chronicled his adventures on his blog, "Pedaling for Pennies, which was followed by up to 20,000 people around the world.

"The people I met, they were so giving and helpful this entire trip. Some fed me, some gave me a place to stay. Overall that's the thing I will remember the most besides the great views, is the culture and the people."

573 days 14 countries, and 15,000 miles later, Rienstra finished the final leg of his trip pulling into Ushuaia, Argentina, a stone's throw from Antarctica where he was met by a few close friends to mark the end his journey. Despite what he called his final blog post, Rienstra says the end of his trip is not the end of the world, in fact, he says chances are, he'll be back on his bike and on another adventure soon.

"It's a good feeling […] shows me I can push myself even harder, lets me know what can be accomplished and what can't and anything you strive for is possible," he said.

Rienstra is still tallying up how much he collected for cancer research, but his goal was $100,000.

When he got back, his friends organized a final fundraiser called Plunging for Pennies which raised an additional $10,000.


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