‘To-do’ Before I Die

By Gus Bode

Not everyone has the time, energy or dedication it takes to pack up as few belongings as possible and ride a bicycle from coast to coast.

Luckily for cancer patients around the country, Brent Thomas and Lee Briggs do.

Thomas and Briggs, two 27-year-old bicyclists who graduated from Wake Forest


University together, have taken on the daunting task in efforts to raise money for the Lance Armstrong Foundation, which cancer patients live life on their own terms.

The duo started in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina and plan to end in San Francisco on Sept. 1. Thomas and Briggs made their 14th pit stop on Thursday in Carbondale and still have more than 30 stops left to go.

Carbondale Bike Club president Anne Johnson said an abundance of preparation would be needed to complete the cross-country trek.

Johnson said talking to someone who has completed the trek, getting the most up-to-date maps and learning how to pack only what is necessary would be vital information.

Bikers would also have to ride 50 to 60 miles a day for five or six days in a row in order to train for the event, Johnson said.

Thomas and Briggs’ idea was hatched when the two created their own website – www.elifelist.com – where site members construct a list of goals to be accomplished during their lifetime.

Thomas and Briggs then used their own site to set out on a journey that would put them a step closer to accomplishing their own life goals.


The site is very similar to other online networking sites such as Myspace and Facebook, although the two creators are quick to explain that it is in fact, very different.

Briggs said Life List helps its members attain their goals by having them published somewhere.

“Unlike Facebook and Myspace, our site is based on real life and things one wants to accomplish in his or her real life,” Briggs said. “Also, making your list public to friends and family makes a person much more likely to actually try for their goals.”

Life List is also designed so members can create their list and check off each goal upon completion.

Once a goal has been moved to the “done” list, each of the member’s friends gets a message informing them of the accomplishment

“When you see someone has completed a goal, you can send them a message saying, ‘Hey, good job!'” Briggs said.

The pair’s Life List page allows Life List members to donate money through their Bike Trip blog, which is updated frequently with news and alerts.

As of Thursday, 600 members had donated about $4,500, Thomas said. However, Briggs and Thomas have set their sites higher.

“We hope to raise about $20,000,” said Thomas. “We have it set up so that people can donate directly through the blog.

With six weeks and 31 stops still remaining on their journey, Briggs and Thomas admitted to being a little homesick for their friends and families.

Briggs has had to deal with the hurdle of being away from his wife of only one year and is in the middle of a move to San Francisco.

Thomas, meanwhile, said the trip is worth the energy.

“It’s tough leaving friends and family,” said Thomas. “But it’s a short amount of time in the big picture.”

Although Briggs and Thomas were both aware of the consequences of being on their bikes for two months with little contact from friends and family they have a very positive outlook on their voyage.

“Sure, it’s physically and mentally demanding,” said Briggs, “but every day is a new adventure.”

Daily Egyptian writer Christian Holt can be reached at 536-3311 ext. 249 or [email protected]