Pedaling with purpose: Mandeville man cycles cross-country to spread disability awareness

His trek isn’t for reasons of physical fitness. Malbrough has a cause: He wants to help make people across the nation give a little more thought to, and have a little more empathy for, people with disabilities.

The Journey of Hope is a national project of Malbrough’s Pi Kappa Phi fraternity at Northwestern State in Natchitoches, where he’s a junior majoring in history. He’s also an ROTC cadet who plans to commission into the Army after graduating.

Malbrough, the son of Gary and Stephanie Marlbrough, of Mandeville, graduated from Lakeshore High School.

His group of 29 participants started out in Seattle and followed a route through Denver, Colorado, and St. Louis, Missouri. There are two other routes with other groups of riders as well. All will converge in Washington, D.C., on Aug. 13.

The miles his group pedals each day varies. “It can be as little as 35 miles all the way to 125 miles per day,” he said. “We sleep on gym floors, in church community rooms and athletic centers.”

The less-than-luxurious accommodations help further the group’s purpose by getting the riders up close to community members.

“We have scheduled events almost every day of the 71-day trip,” Malbrough said. “We are greeted by small and large crowds, depending on the city. We have ‘friendship visits’ at local special-needs facilities where we play games and have dance parties with the special-needs people in that town. It’s a lot of fun.”

In a recent on-the-road email interview from in Indianapolis, Indiana, Malbrough told The Advocate more about his reasons for joining the trip and about life pedaling from the Pacific to the Atlantic.

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