Isaac Manning on Loving His Bike and Saving Lives


Isaac Manning on Loving His Bike and Saving Lives

By Terri Stearman and Candice Holdorf

Isaac Manning credits cycling with saving his life, and he’s now using his love of the bike to save others. Mr. Manning was initially a runner—a sport that kept him healthy both mentally and physically for 15 years. “Endorphins are better than antidepressants,” he quips, as he recalls his teen years—a time when he was caught in the darkness of depression. Running helped him through those difficult years, but it was his battle with osteoarthritis that finally forced him to hang up his running shoes when he discovered he had broken his titanium hip and was facing a third hip replacement. Rather than giving up his love of physical activity and the outdoors, Isaac turned to cycling. What began as a necessary lifestyle change transformed into a passionate cross-country ride to raise awareness for suicide—the 2nd leading cause of death for U.S. citizens aged 10-24.

Mr. Manning’s inspiration for his journey began when his dear friend, Tom Harris, lost his daughter to suicide. In the wake of this tragedy, Mr. Harris and his wife founded the Jordan Elizabeth Harris Foundation—which focuses on suicide awareness. Recalling his own years of mental illness, Mr. Manning wanted to “harness grief and turn tragedy into inspiration” by doing a long-distance cycling ride that brought attention to his friend’s foundation. Both Mr. Manning and Mr. Harris began planning their cross-country trek three years ago and have spent the last two years conditioning their bodies to ride from Oregon to Washington DC. Inspired by Stephen Ambrose’s Undaunted Courage, they chose to ride the Louis and Clark trail in reverse and end their journey at the Jefferson Memorial to celebrate his role in the Louisiana Purchase.

Preparing for this epic journey left Mr. Manning in the best shape of his life.  He realized early on that he had to be serious about conditioning his body and mind if he wanted to be successful in his endeavor. “Like depression, there is no way to B.S. it,” recalled Mr. Manning.   In addition to putting in long hours on the bike, he also started following a Paleo diet and making smart calorie choices that worked for his training. He credits Dyar Bentz, whom he dubs his “extreme manager,” for helping him get his body ready for the ride. Dyer himself has done many 1000+ mile rides and knows what it takes to cross the finish line.

The training paid off and Mr. Manning and Mr. Harris are currently traversing the country in a span of nine weeks—covering 3700 miles. But they aren’t alone out on the road. The Jordan Elizabeth Harris Foundation is partnering with the veterans suicide awareness group, Mission 22. Service members and volunteers from Mission 22 will join Mr. Manning and Mr. Harris to support the ride. Also joining the adventure are Mr. Manning and Mr. Harris’ wives, who have affectionately been dubbed “Sag-a-jawea” in honor of their role in guiding and supporting the riders through the Oregon Trail. The two women will be driving a 14-passenger van and a suburban to provide SAG—support and gear—for their husbands along the journey. The riding crew will find shelter across the country through a membership site known as Warm Showers—a cyclist-supported group where members open their homes to other bikers who are seeking shelter mid-ride.

When he’s not cycling, Mr. Manning is real-estate developer and devoted husband. His love of family initially inspired him to look for life insurance. As a life-long health enthusiast, Mr. Manning, was originally attracted to Health IQ’s mission of celebrating health. “I had other insurance policies,” he recalls, “but rewarding health is important to me. The level of excellent customer service and concern for me I experienced at Health IQ confirmed this was the kind of company I wanted to do business with.”

Mr. Manning is now over halfway through the ride, which is scheduled for completion on November 11, 2017. With Mr. Harris and their wives at his side, Mr. Manning can rest assured that he will have the support he needs to succeed in his cycling mission. And with Health IQ on his side, he can rest assured that no matter what happens, his family will be taken care of.

Follow Mr. Manning and Mr. Harris on their journey at

About Health IQ

Health IQ’s mission is to improve the health of the world by celebrating the health conscious through social and financial rewards. Founded in 2013 by a team of health-conscious entrepreneurs, Health IQ gathered research and data to convince top-rated, innovative insurance carriers that health-conscious people have lower mortality and deserve lower rates on life insurance. Health IQ is a licensed life insurance agency in all 50 states and has helped thousands of health-conscious people secure billions in insurance coverage. Learn more at


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