WILKES-BARRE — Local businessman Seth Gollhardt hits a lot of milestones this year, but he still has another long road ahead — 4,300 miles to be exact.
The pizza chain franchisee, who this summer celebrates his 50th birthday and 30 years with Domino’s Pizza, on Thursday is to embark on a cross-country tour atop his bicycle to raise money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
His trek will take him from Wildwood, New Jersey, to Seaside, Oregon, as he solicits donations to raise $100,000 for the hospital. Any money raised is to be donated in full, he said.
He has budgeted four months to complete the tour and hopes to put 50 miles behind him each day.
“I’m not trying to do it super-fast. I have a lot of people to visit and a lot of fundraisers along the way,” Gollhardt said. “It’s more resolve than it is great physical ability.”
He mapped his route to follow a chain of Domino’s restaurants through the country, and he plans to visit colleagues-in-arms in the towns he will visit. Some have pledged to saddle up and ride with him for shorter distances.
“I’ll be riding through Ann Arbor (Michigan), through world headquarters for Domino’s Pizza, and some people there have committed that they’d ride along with me as we leave our headquarters,” Gollhardt said.
Domino’s has bestowed St. Jude with donations in the past, and Gollhardt said he chose the hospital to keep in line with the corporate mission.
Gollhardt lives in Lehman Township with his wife, Darcy. They have three children and three dogs.
On Tuesday, while making sure his gear was in order, he also was coordinating with his managers to fill the gaps in his absence, though using mobile technology, he’ll be able to keep on eye on his nine pizza shops.
“I could be in Oregon and tell you how many pizzas are waiting to be delivered in my Kingston store,” Gollhardt said.
Cycling for health
Gollhardt has diabetes. He was able to regulate his insulin through oral medication. But after he started cycling, his condition improved dramatically.
“Through cycling I lost a lot of weight, got in shape, and now I no longer take any medication for the diabetes,” Gollhardt said.
Spending time outdoors was incentive to make healthier choices starting about six years ago when he began taking Sunday-morning rides with an Around Town Bicycles cycling group out of Wilkes-Barre.
“When you’re riding a bicycle around Northeastern Pennsylvania, up all the hills, being heavy is not an advantage,” Gollhardt said with a grin. “It helps to go down hill.”
He hasn’t trained aggressively for the trip because of to injuries he suffered while hiking recently, but Gollhardt said he plans to take his time and average about 50 miles each day.
Already, Gollhardt’s ride has raised $2,800 in donations made through his website, www.sethsride.com.
St. Jude Children’s Hospital offers free cancer treatment to families throughout the country. The hospital seeks new ways to treat childhood cancer and leukemia, and operates primarily from donations.