Twenty-seven bicyclists had a stopover in Blackfoot Monday night as they continued their 4K (4,000) miles in 70 days biking adventure across the U.S.
They ride with an organization called Biking Across America whose purpose to highlight cancer awareness. This ride started May 27 from Baltimore, Maryland, and will end Aug. 4 in Portland, Ore.
Each rider raised at least $4,500 before taking on the challenge of this ride across America. Rider Venkatesh Srinivas from New Jersey raised $10,000; rider Joshua Wilkins from Philadelphia raised $11,000.
Wilkins is the only rider with this team who has had cancer. He had parathyroid cancer 12 years ago.
All the riders have close ties to someone who has had cancer.
One of the team leaders, Chey Hillsgrove from Fair Hill, Maryland, said, “We’ve had opportunity to speak to groups of people as we’ve traveled across the country. We ask, ‘How many of you have not been affected by cancer?’
Only two or three people in a group of 100 can raise their hands, Hillsgrove said. Cancer affects everyone.
The bicyclists range in age from 18 to 26.
Most of the riders are from the East. One is from California, another from Texas.
For the riders, highlights of the trip are meeting the riders with whom he/she will spend the next 70 days and “all the people we’ve met along the way.”
“They’re inspiring,” one rider said.
The idea of riding bicycles across the country for cancer awareness was started by a student group at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. Two years ago, the organization became non-profit. Last year, it joined with the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults.
Initially, there was only one ride—from Baltimore to San Francisco.
After joining with the Ulman Cancer Fund, there are now three rides—Baltimore to San Francisco, Baltimore to Portland and Baltimore to Seattle.
There are 88 bicyclists on the three rides. Together, the 88 riders have raised close to $500,000.
The Portland team stopped in Blackfoot. They ride an average of 75 miles each day.
Monday was a short ride for them. They rode only 28 miles from Idaho Falls to Blackfoot.
One young lady said they ride from 40 to 140 miles each day. Depending on the rider, it can take from 10 to 12 hours a day to ride 100 miles.
Zach Boyer from Assonet, Mass., said, “You can tell you are in the West because you can see the rain coming.”
Two support vehicles travel with them. One professional bike mechanic, who is also a rider, is on this team. It was reported that he is always busy [repairing bikes].
This group has zigzagged across the U.S.
After starting in Baltimore, they traveled to Pennsylvania, then onto Cincinnati, Ohio, before heading south to Lexington and Louisville, Kentucky. They next headed into Indiana before riding to Chicago, Des Moines, Iowa, and Omaha, Neb.
It was west to Denver and Boulder, Colo., before going to Laramie and Jackson, Wyo.
They had two days off in Jackson before heading over Teton Pass and Pine Creek Pass to Idaho Falls on Sunday.
Monday saw them in Blackfoot. Tuesday they head to Twin Falls and then Mountain Home.
They will have been in 12 different states and covered 4,400 miles before ending their trip in Portland.
There is no food or no room budget, so the group stays where they are welcome.
Members of St. Bernard’s Catholic Church provided food, showers, and a place to sleep Monday.
“It’s our honor to host them,” said Agnes Schreier. Schreier is a breast cancer survivor herself. She sponsors the Relay for Life team, Agie’s Angels.
For more information about 4K in 70 days, the website is 4Kforcancer.org. Donations can be made at this site as well.