• Man biking around perimeter of Florida with this message: 'Veterans are a national treasure'

    By: Bridgette Matter


    JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A man is riding his bike thousands of miles with just one message: that there's still good in the world.

    In 2012, Bob Votruba took his longest ride, which was 4,000 miles, from California to New York City.

    His mission was inspired by the Virginia Tech tragedy in 2007. He said when watching that horror unfold on his TV, he realized something was missing in the world. He wanted to show people, especially children, that the goodness in people is very still much alive

    Votruba is pedaling with a passion, paving his own road of kindness.

    “Around the state of Florida, 1,600 miles,” Votruba said. “I’m a one man show, if you will.”

    He’s biking the perimeter of Florida, stopping in 35 cities in just 27 days.

    So why is a 60-year-old retired man biking around sunshine state?

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    He said it’s pretty simple

    “Trying to raise awareness about kindness,” Votruba said.

    So he’s been doing this about eight-and-a-half years, biking different parts of the country. Each mission a little different: The focus of this trip is those who served America.

    “Trying to help as many veterans as we possibly can,” Votruba said.

    On Thursday, he spent his time in Jacksonville at the Clara White Mission volunteering. He showed us his bus filled with hundreds of messages of kindness in 52 different languages written by people he’s met across the country.

    “The kindness bus tour is dedicated to all the children of the world. May they only know love,” Votruba said.

    Votruba said he traded his home, car and virtually all his possessions for a bike and the bus, where he sleeps.

    It follows him on those long bike rides he's been taking for the past 8 years and he said hes nowhere close to chaining up his bike.

    “We all, I think, in our lives can take a little bit of our day and help one another,” Votruba said.

    Votruba’s next stop is Friday in St. Augustine. 

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