Pete Mayer spent 22 hours aboard his bicycle, completing a trek from Boca Raton to Key West on Oct. 24, raising money for mental health services. MANDY MILES/Keys Weekly

A conversation bred from boredom during the COVID quarantine in March turned into an epic, 22-hour bike ride that raised $12,000 for youth mental health services.

Pete Mayer was sitting around with friends when he wondered aloud how long it would take to ride a bike from his home in Boca Raton to Key West’s Southernmost Point.

“I made the mistake of saying, ‘I bet I could do it in less than 24 hours,’” Mayer said. “My friends challenged me to put my money where my mouth was, and we started planning a ride that would also raise money for people struggling with mental health issues.”

The cause is a personal one for Mayer, who lost his brother, Nick, to suicide a year ago following mental illness issues.

“This is a huge issue in today’s society that needs immediate attention, and seems to always be swept under the rug,” Mayer wrote on his Go Fund Me page, “Petey Wheels.”  “Our goal through this fundraiser is to bring awareness to mental health issues in today’s youth, and support suicide prevention programs that can help save a life.”

Mayer left Boca Raton the evening of Oct. 23 and rode alone through the night, with a “pit crew” of friends and supporters following in a vehicle.

“I may never ride a bike again,” Mayer told the Keys Weekly moments after his arrival at the Southernmost Point. “I almost gave up somewhere around Key Largo, but I made it happen.”All funds raised through Team Wheels campaign will be donated to the Jordan Porco Foundation and the Nick Mayer Memorial Fund of the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, which was established in memory of Mayer’s brother. The fund supports a variety of non-profit organizations, with priority given to youth and high school ice hockey programs and “skaterships” for players exhibiting a passion for the sport and a commitment to playing hockey in high school.

Pete Mayer celebrates his 22-hour completion of a 210-mile bike ride from Boca Raton to Key West’s Southernmost Point. MANDY MILES/Keys Weekly
Pete ‘Petey Wheels’ Mayer celebrates with friends upon reaching Key West on his bicycle 22 hours after he left his home in Boca Raton. MANDY MILES/Keys Weekly

Join Our Blast – Keys News Right to Your INBOX