The cyclists and 10 crew members are traveling 3,700 miles across the country from Long Beach, California, to Washington, D.C., raising funds and awareness through The Ability Experience, a Pi Kappa Phi nonprofit organization.
The Journey of Hope started in 1987 when one member of the fraternity biked across the U.S. as a fundraiser. Today, there are three different routes, each with over 20 young men cycling for the cause. Pi Kappa Phi has raised $15 million overall for the project. Together, all three routes earn about $558,000 a year, members said. Matt Fanelli, a first-time cyclist with the Journey of Hope, said he has been volunteering with disabled people since he was a freshman in high school. Now a junior at Purdue University in Indiana, Fanelli said he joined Pi Kappa Phi because it worked with the disabled.
“Their philanthropy was a huge selling point for me in joining Pi Kapp,” Fanelli said.
Along the trip, the cyclists stop in towns for “friendship visits.” During these visits, they meet with organizations and work with disabled people. Fanelli said his life was changed by these friendship visits.