Matt Chacon, a regular fixture at the Station Tap House Bar and Grill in Banning, was already a beer or two in before he noticed the shirt that the man he had been chatting with was wearing.
Erik Quinson of Brooklyn was wearing a fluorescent green cycling shirt with the logo of the American Brain Tumor Association.
Quinson, 26, an alumnus of Vassar College, was nearing the end of a two-month journey, just 65 miles short of reaching Santa Monica Pier, his final destination on his ride to raise funds and awareness of the dreaded disease last Thursday.
Chacon then offered to buy Quinson’s beer for him.
Quinson opted for Wells & Young’s Banana Bread beer.
“He seemed adventurous and wanted to try it,” Chacon says. “I offered to buy him another, but he only wanted one.”
The stop for Quinson was serendipitous, as he was hoping to stop in Redlands for the night, as Redlands is known to have a supportive cycling community, and is home to the annual Redlands Bicycle Classic.
He had spent the previous couple of evenings in Joshua Tree, but heading towards Redlands, “the wind was brutal. It was really limiting, and I didn’t make the miles I was hoping to,” said Quinson, who hails from Brooklyn and grew up in England.
Swinging through Banning he noticed the opportunity for craft beer and told himself, “That sounds really good right now.”
As he revealed his story to those intrigued enough to learn more, staff at the Station Tap House and other guests took care of him.
Manager Scott De Temple applied his employee discount to Quinson’s bill. (He ordered the venue’s signature Station Burger.)
“He’s an awesome dude,” said De Temple, who lost his father to a brain tumor 13 years ago. “He was a joy to have around.”
Quinson works for a real estate business back in New York.
When he and friend Karam Anthony, who he met at Vassar, chose to ride across America to raise awareness for their respective causes, Quinson selected the American Brain Tumor Association in honor of his younger brother experienced complications from a brain tumor at the age of 16, and survived.
Quinson’s late uncle was also victim of a brain tumor.
Anthony’s ride was raising awareness for Suicide Awareness Voices of Education (SAVE).
“We parted along the way back in Kansas, but were expecting to meet up in Santa Monica around the same time,” Quinson. “We have different missions, different styles of riding.”
And, along the way, they “have met tons of people along the route who has had a family member affected or died as a result of having a brain tumor,” Quinson said.
He picked the American Brain Tumor Association because of its reputation for not simply doing research, but for providing support to families who are being affected by someone suffering from the disease. Together, Quinson and Anthony had raised over $10,000 towards brain cancer research and suicide prevention when they concluded their ride last Sunday. Quinson flew back to New York.
Quinson appreciated the hospitality he received in Banning.
“Usually I contact the local Police Department of what I’m doing, and ask for advice where I can stay out of the way for the night. I actually had a hotel room booked when I stopped by the Station Tap House, though Scott offered me a place to stay for the night. They’re really friendly people.”
To contribute to the causrs, go to the link www.gofundme.com/f/usridetosavelives.
Staff Writer David James Heiss may be reached at email@example.com.