Riding an average of 75 miles a day, the team of cyclists participating in the 26th Journey of Hope arrived in Carson City on Friday.
After a stop at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Western Nevada, they biked over to the Children’s Museum of Northern Nevada, where they played with the children and presented a puppet show.
“I think it’s pretty fun seeing them because they’re cycling and they’re exercising a lot,” said Adam Sulik, 9. “They keep on being trained, and they keep getting healthier.”
Journey of Hope is a program of Push America, the national philanthropy of Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity, which raises funds and awareness for people with disabilities. Made up of members from Pi Kappa Phi chapters across the country, the team began in San Francisco and will end Aug. 10 in Washington, D.C.
Cyclist Jack Johnson said the toughest section so far was Wednesday’s 95 miles, which included the climb over Carson Pass.
“It takes everything you have and then some,” he said. “But, at the end of the day, it’s not about us. We’re going to raise awareness for people with disabilities.”
The group presented a puppet show, featuring a boy named Mark who was in a wheelchair. Mark explained to his friend Mel the limitations he had, but also the abilities he had.
“I liked that he was in a wheelchair,” said Leila Uhlmeyer, 7. “He can cruise around faster than people.”
Nick Brady rode last year, and after what he called a “life-changing experience,” he came back this year as project manager.
“The opportunity to lead another group of young men through what I experienced was pretty much irresistible,” he said. “There’s so many aspects to it in terms of personal development.”
Cyclist Kyle Marpe, 20, is learning the same thing.
“On my personal journey, I’ve taken at least one thing away every day,” he said.
The greatest learning experiences come, he said, in interacting with children with disabilities.
“Despite all their difficulties they have in life, they still manage to put a smile on,” Marpe said. “They put a smile on our faces as well.”
The team will have breakfast this morning at the Children’s Museum provided by the Kiwanis Club, then ride 65 miles to Fallon.