Pedaling hope for people with disabilities

Thirty cyclists will awake Thursday in Markleeville, Calif., hoping to ride over the hill to the Children's Museum of Northern Nevada the following afternoon.

The stop in Carson City is one of 63 the group will make during their 4,000-mile Journey of Hope to bring awareness to the accomplishments of people with disabilities.

"The ride is promoting building leaders for tomorrow by serving people with disabilities today," said Kyle Thomas, director of marketing.

The Journey of Hope is a cross-country bicycle trek beginning in San Francisco, Calif., and Florence, Ore., and ending together with all teams in Washington, D.C.

The Journey of Hope is organized by Push America, a nonprofit group founded by the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity. To date, the organization has raised more than $10 million on behalf of people with disabilities, distributing it through grants to qualifying organizations.

"The bike ride started with one individual in 1987," Thomas said. "It was his dream to ride cross-country for Push America. The following year the first team began making the ride."

At each stop, the riders interact with the people for whom they are making the journey. The group will ride to the Boys & Girls Club of Western Nevada, 673 S. Stewart St., on Thursday. They will then present a puppet show at the Children's Museum at 1:30 p.m. Friday before continuing their journey.

Cyclist Towers Rice said the show is designed to teach children about disabilities and the abilities of those with disabilities.

"Most of the cyclists take on the journey to make a difference in other people's lives, but it ends up changing them," Thomas said.

In total, 81 riders comprising three teams will take three different routes. Riders will visit 33 states, stop in 180 cities and travel more than 12,000 miles. Two of the routes intersect in Carson City.

"They do it to spread the message of the abilities of people with disabilities," Thomas said. "To focus on what people can do instead of what they can't."

• Contact reporter Jarid Shipley at or 881-1217.


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