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“I’m not totally alone in it,” Mr. Jones said. “I have a lot of people that are obviously following along and rooting for me, and there are going to be people joining me for parts of the route.”

Beginning in Bar Harbor, Mr. Jones eventually will finish in Imperial Beach, Calif., where the map says, “stop at the Mexico border.”

“I noticed a lot of people when they bike across the country or they go around the world or something, they pick a route that’s like, yeah, you did it, but you picked the easy way to do it,” Mr. Jones said. “I wanted to make sure nobody could say that about me. … If I had a map that started farther east I would have started there.”

What all of this — the planning, training and riding — comes down to is Jones‘ desire to challenge himself and live. This desire can even be seen in the clothes he wears. When Jones‘ sister designed his team shirt, she included a phrase on the back that Mr. Jones considers his life motto: “Survive, Recover, Live.”

Now Mr. Jones will be bringing that message across America. When asked who he hopes to influence — from the veterans helped by the money he raises, to the students he plans to talk to, to the adults riding with him — his response is simple:

“I want it to inspire everybody.”