WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A man is biking across most of the eastern seaboard to inspire hope for those battling addictions.
Nick Basalyga, founder of cycling-based non-profit recovery organization In The Saddle, is biking to Philadelphia from Boca Raton to raise awareness about addiction and recovery in a tour presented by Caron Treatment Centers.
He made a pit stop in West Palm Beach on Thursday as he follows U.S. Highway 1 through South Florida.
In The Saddle, which is based in Philadelphia, helps people with a recovery program through cycling, community service and group support.
The group is partnering with Delray Beach-based Caron Treatment Centers for the 2nd annual Ride Into Recovery Tour. Basalyga will ride with a crew over 1,300 miles through eight different states, with a goal of finishing on October 22.
The ride comes as South Florida continues to battle an opioid epidemic. Nationwide 65,000 people were killed by heroin, cocaine, and prescription painkillers combined in 2016, a 21% jump from a year earlier according to the CDC.
Basalyga has been sober himself from alcohol since 2010 and hopes his ride will inspire others to know what recovery can look like.
"Whether it be drug and alcohol addiction that somebody's struggling from, or changing diet, I think that hope is key," he said. "It's really to make the biggest impact as possible. I know South Florida definitely has it's issues, and so does Philadelphia. As long as we can help one person, that's the goal."
This is one of the longest cycling rides Basalgya has ever ridden. Last year, he rode from San Francisco to Philadelphia for the first tour. This year, he hopes to averaging about 130 miles a day in order to make it to his destination within 10 days.
Click here to follow the journey on the group's Facebook page.