Councilor, Buchanan & Mitchell’s (CBM) CBM100-Charities initiative showed what ambition looks like on the part of CBM Document Management Specialist Sal Attanasio’s decision to take the idea of community service cross-country. In November 2021, Sal and his wife, Joy, set off on an ocean-to-ocean trip from Atlantic Beach, Florida to Pacific Beach, California. Sal was inspired to take the trip by decades of bike tourists who came before, taking on self-supported trips since at least 1976, when Adventure Cycling Association first began publishing maps of cross-country routes.
Although they didn’t plan most of their volunteer activities before the trip actually started, Sal and Joy managed to find opportunities to serve and contribute to volunteering efforts at several locations along the way including in Tallahassee, Florida, Mobile, Alabama, Austin, Texas, Las Cruces, New Mexico, Tucson, Arizona and San Diego, California, to name a few.
“As we approached different cities and towns,” explains Sal, “we would investigate volunteer activities that we could get involved in. Some required days of advance training so it could take a while to find experiences that were good fit and where we could really contribute and make a difference. And we also wanted to get involved in different activities, and not do the same kind of charitable work at each location.”
The bike trip itself provided numerous sources of adventure. On Day 1, Sal and Joy rode 80 miles through cold, torrential rain in Florida. “Time was limited, and we didn’t want to slow down just as we were going,” he says, “so we had to press on.” Additionally, their trip was delayed by a dozen flat tires to the point where, Sal confesses, he began to see the advantages of hoarding tubes. Some of the most challenging delays occurred when misfortune struck at night and he had to find a source of light to change punctured tires.
On one occasion, in Austin, Texas, Sal feared his trip would end prematurely when a piece of his seat frame broke off his recumbent bike. “This is it,” he recalls. “I can’t sit in this seat anymore.” Before long, he realized that a $1 wooden dowel from Home Depot could replace the missing metal rod. After applying this makeshift fix, he was able to continue.
One group Sal found profoundly helpful along the way was an online-connected network of touring cyclists called Warmshowers. The Warmshowers network is a cohesive group of thousands of individuals (often avid cyclists themselves) who offer free lodging and sometimes even meals, showers and mechanical support to cyclists passing through the area. One such host named Carlos in El Paso let Sal camp in his backyard, use his kitchen and shower, and also took him on a tour of the city.
“You meet a lot of great people,” Sal explains “including a lot of talented bike mechanics.” He mentioned another Warmshowers host named Steve Pedigo who owns a bike shop in Alpine, TX, and who met him in town to assist with a destroyed rear tire.
The entire trip took 43 days, during which Sal and Joy performed the following community service activities:
Well done, Sal, and thanks for being an inspiration to the rest of CBM! Hope you enjoyed your adventure.
Councilor, Buchanan & Mitchell (CBM) is a professional services firm delivering tax, accounting and business advisory expertise throughout the Mid-Atlantic region from offices in Bethesda, MD and Washington, DC.