Welcome to Healthy Living Week at OnMilwaukee.com! The resolutions are made, now the real work begins. But we're here to help get you â€“ and keep you â€“ on track with stories about medicine, diet, exercise, spiritual and emotional health, and more. Healthy Living Week is brought to you byÂ Pairdd: easy gluten-free cooking at your fingertips.
Patrick Reilly has been "around" in Milwaukee. He was a staple on the East Side bar scene for years, helming and indulging in the wildest party spots on hot blocks like North Avenue.
And then, he decided to get sober.Â
That took him straight across the United States â€“ on his bicycle.
Rewind to about 4 1/2 years ago. Reilly left the bar business and committed to a new lifestyle, replacing alcohol and drugs with a new addiction â€“ triathlons. Training for these super human athletic feats of endurance includes running, swimming and cycling â€“ the last of which became Reillyâ€™s passion.
But, cycling didnâ€™t fully address some of the more mindful aspects of Reillyâ€™s sobriety. He wanted to find some sort of meditation practice to support his new lifestyle and he knew it would need to also have a physical component in order to hold his attention. Enter Ashtanga Yoga.Â
And then Reilly decided he wanted act on a scenario he had marinated on for a while. He wanted to cycle across the United States.Â
Bound by limiting thoughts that his dream was an impossibility given his responsibilities, financial situation and the sheer time it would take to complete, he basically shunned the idea. He credits his dedication to six days a week of physical yoga practice and to his yoga teachers for giving him the impetus to move forward with the adventure, formulated purely for self-benefit and personal growth.
"My Ashtanga practice opened a door to the exploration of the mind-body experience. I wanted a challenge. I wanted to accomplish a goal. I wanted a walkabout. I wanted to travel. I wanted to run away," he says. "My inner â€˜meat headâ€™ wanted to see what my body could do. I wanted to see if my mind or body would break ... and how."
The decision was made and appropriations began when suddenly the real purpose of the trek became crystal clear to Reilly.Â
"Once I had decided to that I was going to ride a wave of selflessness came over me," he says. "I learned a great lesson in my sobriety. Anything good that has happened to me â€“ ever â€“ has been a direct result of helping someone else."Â
In this case, that someone else was Reillyâ€™s childhood friend, Bryon Riesch, who was paralyzed from the chest down in an accident when he was attending Marquette University in 1998.Â
The Bryon Riesch Paralysis Foundation (BRPF) was established in 2001 to focus on finding a cure for spinal cord injuries through continued research. And so, the informal, solitary ride then transformed into Patrick Reillyâ€™s Ride Across America to benefit BRPF.Â
The 2013 ride began on Aug. 22 and finished on Dec. 21, for a total of 4,267 miles. Every penny raised went directly to the foundation and Reilly ended up crushing his goal of raising $5,000. The total money raised through the ride so far now surpasses $8,500.Â
Reilly was clearly transformed as well. He is still the same handsome guy equipped with a quick wit and a knack for conversation that consistently ends in laughter. Heâ€™s still the tall guy from Waukesha, now with a cyclistâ€™s physique and a yogiâ€™s grace but there is a wise curve to his smile now. Itâ€™s like heâ€™s learned the secret to the universe over the past few months.Â
Like so many who choose the charitable path, Reilly was left a bit "broke" by his benevolent exercise, but he is continuing his mission of selfless service and now works with Sober Alternative Living Services, an organization that provides safe sober housing and coaching to individuals fresh in recovery.Â
Reilly is shy and humble when reflecting on his trip. He talks about the ups and downs in an interview that aired on Todayâ€™s TMJâ€™s "Morning Blend," but it is plain to see that Reilly is a reluctant hero and was fervently trying to redirect the attention to his friendâ€™s foundation.Â
And so, perhaps itâ€™s best to honor Reilly with his own words to punctuate this piece.Â
"I just rode a bike, Bryon IS the foundation," he says.
No Talkbacks for this article.
Post your comment/review now
Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by OnMilwaukee.com. The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of OnMilwaukee.com or its staff.
Recent Articles & Blogs by Lindsay Garric
Published Dec. 2, 2015
I have allowed Fear to unrightfully direct some major decisions that greatly altered the course of my life. So I decided to dig in.
Published Sept. 28, 2015
In an age of Apple Watches and Google Glass, shouldn't laptops be impervious to water damage?
Published Sept. 9, 2015
Today, as I pull out the remnants, I remember the crazy outburst of my very first garden and all of its significance gets etched into the big picture of food production.
Published Aug. 24, 2015
The Blue Moon rose on July 31, 2015. This astrological wonder hadn't occurred since 2012 and won't varnish the sky with its indigo face again until 2018. To my delight, the early hours of the "morning after" presented a celestial show that will have to sustain me until I can witness it again.
Published Aug. 5, 2015
Lindsay Garric gets personal with Alice Cooper - her husband, Chuck, is Cooper's bassist - and asks him five great questions. Cooper gigs in Milwaukee on Friday, Aug. 7.
Published July 19, 2015
In addition to the hefty work it does through the family support group, the CJ Lomas Foundation has hosted The CJ Lomas Recovery Foundation Golf Outing each year to raise money for opiate recovery organizations and to provide financial assistance for those in need to get help. This year, the event takes place on Friday July 24.
Published June 30, 2015
Sluts can relax. There's yet another demographic being shamed.
Published June 17, 2015
The breeze cools the tops of my feet and sneaks between my toes as my soles deftly navigate every detail of the varied terrain through the most minimal athletic shoe I have ever invested in - Bedrock Sandals.
Published June 1, 2015
If farming had professional athletes, Dela Ends of Scotch Hill Farm would be an all-star. Her certified organic, family-run farm located in Broadhead, Wis. has provided nourishment through Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) to Milwaukee and neighboring cities since 1994.
Published May 20, 2015
Penelope Shihab, founder of biotech company MONOJO and CEO of Milwaukee's Columbia Biotech USA has an innovative take on creating and maintaining clear skin.