Cyclists from the Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity recently crossed into Texas as they pedal from California to Washington D.C., raising awareness and more than $500,000 for ability programs. The sun beating down and their feet, tired from over 1,500 miles of pedaling, does not keep the southern route Journey of Hope riders from their busy schedule.
“It was hard the first two weeks I had moments where I asked myself ‘Why am I doing this?’ and ‘Can I do this any longer? You know it was just hard,” cyclist Pijus Bulvinas said.
Bulvinas, a student at the University of Houston, said he only trained a little bit for the 3,500 mile trip. The average daily haul for the cyclists is over 50 miles including two days in Texas where the group will travel 100 miles or more between stops. Cyclist Alex Marquez said he signed-up for the experience.
Bulvinas said the heat, blisters, and sprains are no match compared to the challenges faced by those he and his Pi Kappa Phi brothers are trying to help.
“Some understand they have a disability, some of them don’t, but they just want to be a normal kid and they suffer through a lot more than what I’m suffering through riding my bike,” Bulvinas said.
The southern route riders are one of three teams crossing the country, raising money and awareness for people with disabilities. Bulvinas added that spending time with the kids during breaks on the trip puts things in perspective.
“Even with the children just getting to play with them, seeing a smile on their face it is really motivating after a long hard day on the bike you know you want to do it again tomorrow,” Bulvinas said.
For Marquez, who said his grandmother lives with a disability, the Ability Experience project and Journey of Hope ride for him means even more.