On the road again
WORTHINGTON — A Los Angeles, Calif., native who is making a more than 3,000-mile journey from Los Angeles to New York found himself temporarily stranded in Worthington this week.
Brandon Hochman, a former professional snowboarder and inventor is riding his motorcycle cross country for a cause that is near and dear to his heart — local humane societies — as part of his Ride4Humanity tour.
Animals have always been an important part of Hochman’s life. During his career as a professional snowboarder, he was injured-- spraining both his ankles along with many secondary injuries. Knowing he wasn’t going to recover from his injuries fast enough, he knew he needed to put his mind to work.
“I was walking my two Labrador retrievers so they could use the bathroom while I was still on crutches, and I was thinking that there had to be a better way to do this,” Hochman said.
Consequently, Hochman invented the first litter box for dogs, known as PETaPOTTY.
“Through the invention of PETaPOTTY, that really opened up a lot of doors for me to do a lot more for animals,” Hochman said.
Hochman used his inventive skills once again and created Skybark, a dog-friendly nightclub catering to pets and people, located on top of the PETaPOTTY headquarters in Los Angeles.
“I came up with the name as a play on words with the famous SkyBar in Los Angeles, which is a nightclub that many celebrities attend,” Hochman said.
Hochman and his team have put together events for the reality show “Off The Leash,” “The Shaggy Dog” DVD release party, “Marley and Me” release party, and MTV’S “The Rob and Big Show,” as well “Fantasy Factory.”
Hochman then decided to combine his love for motorcycles and his love for pets in his charity Ride4Humanity. However the ride isn’t solely focused on pets, Hochman explained, as he wanted to take his charity one step further.
“I didn’t want to be pigeonholed into one thing, so my dream is to have over 250 riders all riding for different causes and having all the bikes customized for the different causes,” he said.
“I want people to ride for whatever cause is personal and special to them,” Hochman added.
But while he was on his own journey, Hochman found himself temporarily waylaid in Worthington when that customized bike broke down.
“My bike literally came apart in half. The luggage on the luggage rack just snapped off, and I broke down a few miles outside of Worthington,” Hochman said.
“I then had to wander over to a nearby farm, where a farmer helped me get my bike in the shop,” he added.
From there, Hochman said the community support just poured in.
“I want to thank John Dykstra and Chris Sutton for helping me out and everyone at Worthington Sports Center for fixing my bike. It looked even better after they fixed it than before it was even broken,” he said.
In addition, Hochman was able to attain, thanks to community members, vouchers for a hotel stay, food and gas.
“This really is a great community, and I can’t thank everyone enough who helped me with my bike and getting me the vouchers,” Hochman said.
Hochman is planning on participating in another Ride4Humanity tour beginning in September from New York to Los Angeles for the Susan G. Komen foundation, which raises money for breast cancer research.