Biking From NYC to SF For Victims of Domestic Violence
Americans aren’t exactly known for our athleticism. Look at the Wal Mart shoppers riding their scooters down the cookie aisle because they’re too fat to walk. We’re the people that invented deep fried Oreo’s for fuck’s sake. Impressive physical endurance isn’t high on our to-do list but apparently comedian Mara Marek didn’t get the memo. This month, in an attempt to raise one million dollars for victims of domestic violence, she’s leaving New York and heading west to San Francisco on her bicycle. She’s biking from coast to coast on a comedy tour called Bike, Laugh, Heal.
Marek and Andrew Collin co-host Happy Never After, a podcast featuring guests who’ve been affected by divorce. One of their guests brought up abusive relationships. They talked about how many women are killed by their significant other even after breaking up with them. Listeners of the show reached out to Marek to share their own stories of abuse and survival and she became inspired. “I was like, ‘We have to do something’, she said, “and that’s how this was born.”
Marek herself is no stranger to domestic violence, “Growing up I lived with a bipolar mother who was a little abusive, but she was un-medicated, so she was unable to control it and my dad gave me an Incredible Hulk bicycle because he didn’t have any sons, he could see I was struggling, so that was my way out of the house,” Marek continued, “When I married my first husband he was also abusive and when I finally left him I joined a competitive cycling team and started riding professionally.”
Biking has been her escape and now she wants to help women who may not have their own way out. Her journey will take 78 days and she’ll be biking over 3,000 miles. She’s training intensely and jokes, ”I started doing this ride for a cause but now I’m getting skinny so I’m doing it for Instagram followers.”
She’s performing stand up almost every night along the way. The proceeds from each show will go to a local women’s shelter. She hopes to develop programs for survivors to become re-established with employment. She also wants to empower them with fitness tools and programs for a successful future.
Her co-host Andrew Collin will be joining her at various points. “We’re just two dorks that don’t really know anything about life and here we are,” said Marek. Does she think she’ll reach her million dollar goal? “Absolutely,” she says, “If you believe you can achieve.”
The kick-off is at Caroline’s Comedy Club on August 13th and she plans to arrive in San Francisco on November 15th. She’ll be updating people with a daily blog and weekly webisodes. Once she reaches her destination though does she plan on biking back? “Hell no,” she says, “I might throw the bike in the ocean.”
You can donate to Marek’s cause here.
Follow Happy Never After podcast on Facebook.
Follow Mara Marek on Facebook.