AUGUSTA — When Bob Sanders hit the road Thursday in Bethel, he aimed his bicycle toward Maine’s state capital.

Bob Sanders pedals east Thursday on Western Avenue in Manchester, toward the Maine State House, on his “Ride Against War in Gaza Tri-State Tour.” Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

About 65 miles later, Sanders arrived, on the 11th day of his 700-mile road trip that is taking him through the three northern New England states.

“I have the route here,” he said, pulling out his itinerary. “I lose track after a while.”

Sanders, 69, is riding his bike to raise money via a GoFundMe campaign for three groups. Half of what he raises will go it to humanitarian aid in Gaza through the American Friend Service Committee, a quarter to New Hampshire Peace Action and a quarter to Not in My Name, a group of Jews in New Hampshire he founded that is opposed to the Israeli-Hamas war.

Along the way, the former journalist said people have been honking, but he cannot tell if they are toots of support or telling him to move over. Sanders said he does not align himself with either side in the war, but rather is “pro-peace.”

Some people have said they supported his cause and asked how to donate.


“No one has said anything negative that I could hear,” he said.

Sanders said he has been relying on two bicycling apps and Google maps to chart his path, often on smaller roads.

“The bike apps are so eager to get you off the main roads, and they take you way out of the way,” he said. “And sometimes, they take you on dirt roads that are washed out.”

If Sanders had followed the bike-friendly path, his route would have been 85 miles, so he opted to stick to the main roads.

“The nice thing is the roads are paved. They are straighter and not as hilly,” he said. “The trucks are … pretty big. And sometimes, they don’t bother going out of their way a little bit. They get pretty close, so I don’t like that.”

Sanders set out from Concord, New Hampshire, in mid-June and headed north to Vermont, through Montpelier to Burlington. He took a day off to visit friends across the border in New York, then headed east through Berlin, New Hampshire, and into Maine.

From Augusta, Sanders heads to Portland, where he plans to spend a day to visit the city and attend a vigil.

His plan is to then cross back into New Hampshire and stop in Dover and Manchester, before returning to Concord, wrapping up his trip in slightly more than two weeks.

Kennebec Journal photojournalist Joe Phelan contributed to this report.

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