Lincoln Nebraska …11:25 PM CST
The inspiration behind the transcontinental bike ride across America, the Dom and Ernie Project, has died. Ernie Greenwald of Lompoc, California passed way after a valiant fight against Lymphocytic Leukemia. He was 74.
Having fallen ill with pneumonia following a round of chemotherapy Ernie was forced in July to abandon plans to travel by tandem bicycle from Los Angeles to New York with friend and adventure filmmaker Dominic Gill. The trip now underway was quickly reorganized to invite participants from around the country to take Ernie’s place. But only individuals with a physical disability were allowed to apply and so far four riders have joined Dominic on the journey. They were making their way through Cody Wyoming when they received news of Ernie’s passing. Dominic posted the following message to Facebook.
“Last week Ernie Greenwald, the same Ernie I met about 4 years ago outside an ice cream parlor near Santa Barbara and the same Ernie that dreamed of riding across America, passed away.
Ernie ensured that he stayed alive just long enough to see us embark and get established on this project. Rather than take the front seat …of the bicycle for himself, he gave the opportunity to others. “Well, that’s not quite true” Ernie would say if he was by my side. He would love to have made this journey with us. He was not a religious man in the slightest, but in some way, in some form I hope he is still with us, experiencing the highs and lows every step of the way.
More people loved Ernie than he knew, and I am grateful to all of you for encouraging him to hold on to life.”
I was really looking forward to meeting Ernie. Of the hundreds of people he met while riding from Alaska to Argentina in the production his feature film “Take A Seat,” Dom said Ernie was the most memorable. In the months since our interview at the Banff Mountain Film Festival Dom’s told me a lot about this shy old man who was newly inspired to seize the moment and take on a grand journey. To have been so ill and still aspire to venture out in search of adventure at the twilight of his time on Earth Ernie is a hero to be admired. No doubt he’ll continue to travel in spirit with Dominic and his crew to the end of their ride. But Ernie will continue his journey through the hearts and minds of those us who were inspired by his great courage.
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