Guest writer for this post is Rob Dye, who is driving the support van on the NYC to DC trip.
After 5 days of riding, starting in Manhattan and stopping in Newark, Somerset, Princeton (actually nearby Lawrenceville), and Bensalem, we stopped in Philadelphia for two nights to afford us a rest day. Our intention was to try to gain attention by hanging out in one of the public places where we could be seen by and have contact with plenty of people.
Before we got even a couple of blocks towards our intended destination, though, we were halted on Market St. at the sight of the Fox29 studios, and the enormous wall-covering promotional poster for their news team, with Facebook and Twitter addresses for each of the team members. Our first thought was “Hmmm.. lets contact them via social media”. But their front door was directly in front of us, and being somewhat old-school, we immediately decided that a face to face cold-call to their editorial team was a faster and more effective way to get from A to B.
Well, that idea didn’t work. Attempting to open the locked door of a prominent news organization these days immediately alerts security, and we were promptly turned away but given a “news tips” phone number to call. Doug called the number and described our campaign. Our hopes were raised when they advised that it would be discussed at the upcoming editorial meeting, which was to take place in 30 minutes.
Back on the street, a young couple from Jacksonville, FL, saw the “NYC to DC” sign board on the back of Doug’s scooter, and, more notably for this social media-savvy pair, saw the hashtag “#DougNGracie”. They asked us what was up, and within a few minutes we were friends. Eddie and Christan liked our cause so much, they offered to buy us a lunch of delicious Philly Cheesesteaks at Sonny’s on Market St.
While we were eating, Doug received a phone call from Fox29 reporter JoAnn Pileggi who found our story interesting and wanted to meet with us. She and her camera man, Martin Reiman, arrived at Sonny’s and for the next couple of hours we talked and drove around the area for filming. We had a wonderful time answering their questions, and we were impressed by their genuine interest.
The final result of it all was a nicely done, two minute story on the ten-o’clock news. To ensure that we would have the video available to us, we used Doug’s iPhone to record our hotel television and put it up on YouTube here.