California teen biking to Washington, D.C., raises funds for charity

California teenager biking across country stops in Oklahoma City on Wednesday evening.

BY MATT DINGER Published: June 24, 2010
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/> The Machados, who are in real estate, shut down their businesses in Upland, Calif., when Joseph announced his plans to bike cross-country two months ago.

"Any parent who would let their 13-year-old ride across the country alone would be crazy. It was between him and God and we needed to be there to support him,” Robert Machado said.

But his parents aren't the only ones making sacrifices to support Joseph. His sister, Mercedes, who sings opera in five languages, was recently chosen for a training program at Paramount Studios. She declined the invitation and also put off an audition for "American Idol” to support her brother this summer.

"Joe has had people come up to him and say, 'Son, do you know how far the White House is?,'” Robert Machado said. "He'll say 'Yeah, it's about 3,000 miles,' and then they tell him ... 'How ... do you think you'll be able to do it?' And Joe just looks at him and grins and says, 'There's people all over this country who ride their bikes every day, and I'm going to ride my bike every day until I get there.'

"And when I heard that, that's when I really realized how myself and probably most other adults live their lives with walls and barriers around them. And we restrict ourselves. We can learn so much from the younger children.

"Not once has he questioned how he was going to do it. He's known from day one that he was going to do it and he wasn't concerned about that. He has that trust in us and in himself that he's going to make it, so I guarantee you, he'll be there. He'll make it to Washington, D.C., to the White House.”


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HOW TO HELP
Donations can be made at bikingforamerica.com.

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