COLUMBIA — Members of the Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity have been cycling across the country for the past month and a half to raise money for people with disabilities.
Twenty-one cyclists from various chapters of the fraternity rode into the Holiday Inn Select Executive Center in Columbia at 1 p.m. Wednesday after cycling from Sedalia.
The Journey of Hope, organized by Push America, has cyclists on three different routes traveling through 32 states, according to its Web site. The TransAmerica team, which will leave Columbia tomorrow at 6 a.m. and travel to Union, started out in Seattle on June 10 and is expecting to finish in Washington, D.C., on Aug. 15.
“I always call it the greatest road trip,” said Clement Warr, a graduate of Truman State University.
Pi Kappa Phi members have been cycling across the country for Journey of Hope for the past 21 years. Every year, the three teams of Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity members are chosen through an application process. They then spend more than two months cycling an average of 75 miles a day and visiting organizations and people with disabilities.
Each cyclist is expected to raise at least $5,000.
“There’s a lot of training involved,” said Jeremy Jones, project manager for Journey of Hope.
Each cyclist is required to go through six to eight months of training, Jones said. This includes cross-country cycling, spinning classes and running.
“You have to prepare yourself,” Warr said. “And that means staying both physically and mentally focused.”
There is also training and orientation in Seattle the weekend before the cyclists begin their ride, Jones said.
“It’s been the summer of a lifetime,” said Shane Mulrooney, also a graduate of Truman State University.
One of the organizations the fraternity has worked with is The Arc. The Arc is an association that seeks to "improve systems of supports and services" for people with physical and mental disabilities, according to its Web site.
Fraternity members helped people in the association through job training and living environment adjustments.
"The impact that you make on people is just life-changing,” Mulrooney said.
MU's chapter, Pi Kappa Phi Beta Epsilon, does not currently have anyone on the tour, but it plans to have two participants next year, said Louis D. Terbrock, the vice archon of recruitment for Pi Kappa Phi.
“It’s a pretty cool thing,” Terbrock said. “Those riders have lots of stories.”
“Every day’s an adventure,” Jones said.