German Man on World Bike Tour with Dogs Stops in Valley
Randolph Westphal with his dogs, Nanook and Chinook
WAYNESBORO, Va (WVIR) -
A German man on a world tour is sharing his message of survival and perseverance in Waynesboro. He's making his rounds on a bicycle, with two furry companions at his side.
When doctors told Randolph Westphal he had six months to a year to live, he began a fight for his life against malignant melanoma. He started riding his bike through southern Europe, and that journey has expanded now to the United States.
"Don't sit in the corner and wait for your death. Open your eyes and lift up your head,” Westphal said.
Westphal has 132,000 miles behind him and there's not a finish line in sight.
"The end is when everything is broken,” he said.
His two huskies, Chinook and Nanook, march along for the ride.
"The dogs are my family. I never travel without dog,” Westphal said. “They are always loyal and they don't lie."
His transatlantic trek began after his terminal cancer diagnosis in the late ’80s. After his expiration date came and went, he took off, first to Europe and now to America. He gets by on kindness from strangers and donations.
The odyssey is of course accompanied by bumps in the road, but the cycling serves as a form of physical and mental therapy for Westphal.
“There’s people feeling sorry for themselves, and now they see somebody and he fights with his life,” he said.
Despite scars, flat tires, broken equipment and stories of near-death experiences, as long as the road continues, so will his mission.
"You must do what you like to do. It's really important,” Westphal said. “You must take the best drug there is: life."
Westphal says his favorite place in the states so far has been Utah. Next up is Charlottesville. After that, he plans to head up to Northern Virginia and Washington, D.C.
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