A bicycle journey with a mission
After a morning ride from Carson City, more than 30 bicyclists riding for Journey of Hope recently arrived in Fallon after the noon siren sounded.
The siren was just a reminder of what it has been like for these dedicated, college-aged riders to experience as they wind their way across the United States raising awareness for people with disabilities.
Later that night, the Journey of Hope team — which also includes drivers and 35 riders— feasted with the employees and volunteers at Humboldt Shredders in what has become an annual ritual, first starting eight years ago.
As with past ventures, the Journey of Hope program divides itself into three teams of riders, one that traverses the northern tier of the U.S., and the other that follows a southern route. The third team focuses on crossing through the heartland.
Riders coming through represented 24 different universities in 22 states.
By the time the Journey of Hope riders arrived in Fallon, they had been on the road for six days or 350 miles after starting in San Francisco, said Kevin Quinn, who recently graduated from Arizona State University. Some days present challenges such as those that followed the Fallon stop. The riders rode on U.S Highway 50 across Nevada, visiting Austin, Eureka and Ely before entering Utah and then Colorado.
Before leaving the Silver State, Quinn said the riders visited with sisters in Austin who have sponsored the program and met with the community and also the White Pine High School Student Council in Ely.
Although some teams have returning cyclists, the team that visited Fallon consisted of a fresh, new team and hours of training, said.
“We require 900 training miles before the trip,” said Quinn adding that the riders also own their own bikes.
During the day when cyclists are pedaling on the highway, six support vans, which are carrying equipment and personal gear, ensure the riders are aware of hazards and also provide water and snacks at various breaks.
As each team covers the miles on their respective routes, the three groups will all converge as one team prior to entering Washington, D.C. on Aug. 2.
Being able to ride on a Journey of Hope team requires each individual to raise a minimum of $5,500, while many organizations that deal with disabilities receives a grant.
The Journey of Hope organized by Push America is a cycling trek that raises funds and awareness on behalf of people with disabilities in hopes to enhance the quality of their lives. Combined with their individual efforts with corporate sponsorships and the Journey of Hope, the 2014 teams will raise more than $500,000 for people with disabilities.
Quinn said this a different way for them to spend the summer by getting exercise, but more importantly, serving in an outreach to meet new people every day.