From Sea to Shining Sea — PGA Master Professional Kevin Compare Finishes Cross-Country Bike Ride For Charity
By Bob Denney, PGA Historian Emeritus
There is something special about the Compare family of Stuart, Florida.
On Wednesday, PGA Master Professional Kevin Compare and daughter Amy completed a 44-day, 3,100-mile cross-country bike trip by dipping their front tires in the Atlantic Ocean on the shores of St. Augustine, Florida.
The road warriors started May 18 in San Diego, California, and pedaled what is popularly known as the “Southern Tier” of the United States, taking just four days’ rest along the way. They raised $19,275, which will be used to support nine charities. Donations are still coming into CompareFamilyfoundation.org.
Compare, a 62-year-old PGA Teaching Professional at The Breakers in Palm Beach, Florida, has performed trick shot exhibitions in 46 states and nine countries. He’s tested himself many times physically off the course, he said, but this trip was different.
“This was up there in the top two or three things I’ve done in life,” he said. “It ranked so high because I was able to do it with Amy.”
Amy, 25, is an environmental educator with a degree in Environmental Studies from the University of Central Florida and a Masters of Education degree from the University of Washington.
She began the trip having never ridden a bike further than 50 miles, maybe not a surprise for someone who tried out for the rowing team at UCF despite never having rowed a day in her life. She made the team as a freshman, and during her final two years helped the Knights earn their first-ever American Athletic Conference (AAC) Championship and a berth in the NCAA Championships.
That training, said Amy, helped turn a grueling cross-country ride into “a structured event.”
“Rowing was one of the most life-changing things I ever did,” she said. “It really helped me grow my mental toughness and take on challenges, not batting an eye.”
And yes, the Compares rode through the pandemic.
“I haven’t watched TV in 44 days and I don’t know what is going on,” said Kevin. “We were really not in touch with anything. We stopped at stores and put our masks on. We are kind of removed from it. I was asked by a friend, ‘You’re doing this during a pandemic?’ I said, ‘Is there any greater social distancing than what we are doing?’ ”
The Compares averaged 74.6 miles per day, taking four days off to recharge themselves. Kevin’s wife, Joan, followed in the family motorhome, ensuring that the team reached the designated campground each night and making all-important grocery trips. Joan had Bella, a pet Corgi, as company.
“The ride became almost an everyday thing,” said Amy. “But it’s pretty incredible that we have finished. A lot of days blurred together. It’s like a huge experience and you have changed as a person. I feel like the trip was up to my expectations. It was definitely hard, but not as hard as I thought it would be.”
For the record, Kevin suffered nine flat tires and a cracked back rim. Amy was her own bike mechanic, fixing four flats and a braking problem.
There was drama on the final stretch to the St. Augustine shoreline. Amy had her final flat tire with 5½ miles to go. Then, as the twosome crossed the last bridge, Kevin’s bike hit a broken bottle; he arrived on the beach on a flat.
“It was tremendous,” said Kevin. “I was asked what happens on Thursday? I guess that will be a day of rest.”