Fifty days, fifty nights

Barbieri+plans+to+bike+the+length+of+Japan+in+50+days.+Image+courtesy+of+Fabio+Barbieri.

Barbieri plans to bike the length of Japan in 50 days. Image courtesy of Fabio Barbieri.

Michelle Ferrand

Fabio Barbieri graduated from FAU in summer 2011, just months before leaving for Japan. Photo courtesy of Fabio Barbieri.

Barbieri plans to bike the length of Japan in 50 days. Image courtesy of Fabio Barbieri.

On March 11, 2011, an earthquake measureing 8.9 on the Richter scale and a horrific tsunami struck Japan. Relief efforts  gushed in, but now, almost six months later, Japan is going to get a little extra help.

On Sept. 9, Fabio Barbieri began a journey to bike the entire length of Japan in 50 days,  while he attempts to raise at least $5,000 for charity. Throughout this 2,000 plus mile journey down Japan, Barbieri will stop and volunteer with the nonprofit group, All Hands — which helps rebuild and clean up the areas affected by the disaster — and the recipient of the donations, Second Harvest Japan.

“Once I get to their headquarters in Tokyo, I’ll be able to ship the food out and actually see where the money is going,” said Barbieri in an interview before he left.

Barbieri came up with the idea a few months shy of his graduation in Summer 2011. Instead of searching for jobs and getting ready for life after college, Barbieri figured he could go to Japan first. What originally began as brainstorming for cheap ways to get through Japan turned into ideas on how he could raise money for the disaster victims.

“I thought, ‘Oh, since I’m going, why not make it into a fundraiser because they obviously need the help,’” said Barbieri. “When you do a fundraiser, you have to do something out of the ordinary. You can’t just say ‘Guys, I’m going backpacking, give me your money.’ ”

So far, Barbieri has raised $850 and is currently being sponsored by a few companies and businesses, including Red Barn, a pet food and product businesses, who gave

him a Photon 4G, powered by Sprint. The phone, which has unlimited international calling and web access, is the only way Barbieri will be able to communicate and record his travels and progress. That and his helmet cam will help people experience the trip through his perspective.

When asked if he was scared about starting his journey, Barbieri said, “I have been so overwhelmed with the preparations, I just can’t wait to get there and start biking. The only thing I’m a little afraid of is pitching a tent; I don’t know how that’s going to work.”

Regardless of being nervous, Barbieri knows that back home people are supporting him, including student body president Ayden Maher.

“I really want Fabio’s story to get out. I think it’s extraordinary when people put themselves and their career aside to do things for others,” said Maher. “I know it’ll make it an impact and it’s great that it’s being done by a FAU student.”

To keep up with Barbieri’s progress through Japan or to make a donation, visit pedalforjapan.com