Depending on the route someone takes between Ocean Shores, Wash. and New York City it’s an approximately 3,000-mile journey. By car it takes three days to travel the expanse, but two Corban University students and one spouse are ready to trek between the oceans on their bikes for a good cause.
Students Jason Hardrath and Travis Hilley will ride with Travis’’ wife Alissa across the northern United States following Interstate 2 most of the way. Throughout the journey, they will talk about Compassion International and the organizations efforts worldwide to help people overcome poverty and raise as much money as they can for the non-profit.
Fetes of endurance are nothing new to Hardrath who is a Human Performance major at Corban and tri-athlete.
"If I can do it, I figure why not do in the most challenging way I can?” Hardrath said. “As soon as I got on a bike in 2008, I’ve had the idea in my head.” However, he didn’t want to spend more than $2,000 to complete a ride that would only benefit him, which is why he invited his friends to join him in a charity ride.
Newlyweds Travis and Alissa Hilley decided to leave behind their home, their jobs and more for six weeks on a bike saddle, although it took a month of prayer and consideration to make the decision. They aren’t new to bikes having met on two wheels and departed their wedding on bicycles. Supporting Compassion International was a no-brainer for the couple, who already sponsor a child through Compassion International in Guatemala.
“I liked the idea of riding bikes and I really like Compassion International,” Alissa Hilley said. “I couldn’t think of a good reason not to go. I figured if this was something God wanted us to do, then He would provide a way. This mission is very personal to us because some of the support we raise is going directly to the school our sponsored child attends.”
On June 4, the three will begin in Ocean Park, Wash. with their wheels in the Pacific Ocean. Their goal is pedal 70 to 90 miles each day to reach New York City and the Statue of Liberty between July 23 and 26. They will wear blue and yellow jerseys emblazoned with the Compassion International logo and will speak to churches, youth groups and others along the way.
Each has committed to raising $2,000 each for their personal expenses from family, friends, businesses and churches. The trio plans to raise more than $10,000 for the cause en route.
The Bike America Mission team isn’t exclusive to the three riders. Hardrath is encouraging others to join them. Riders need to have money to pay for their expenses, have a passion for Jesus, willing to raise additional funds for Compassion International and prepared for a long journey regardless of rain or scorching heat.
“We are really excited about the opportunity to travel and meet new people,” Alissa Hilley said. “We want to share our experience with Compassion International and how it can help so many people.” Hardrath agreed.
“The real passion for me is the people we will meet along the way and how we will shape them and they will shape us,” Hardrath said. “Compassion’s mission statement sums it up well, "Releasing Children from the grips of poverty in Jesus' name.’ When statisticians estimate one human-being dies every five seconds due to poverty, we want to do our part…and fulfill our Christian calling to ‘speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves’ like it says in Proverbs 31:8.”
For more information about the Bike America Mission Team, follow their daily blog or to make a tax-deductible donation, visit www.bikeamericamission.org. The team is also looking for host families along their route.