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Journey of Hope

Ryan Slabaugh Post IndependentThe snow-covered landscape of January isn't exactly conducive to bicycle touring, but University of Colorado students and fellow Glenwood Springs High School grads Beau Bell, left, and Bryce McDermott, are already in training for the 4,000-mile Journey of Hope to help people with disabilities this summer.
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GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – Bryce McDermott and fellow Glenwood Springs High School graduate Beau Bell haven’t pedaled more than a few miles at a time until now, but they’ll be taking one long bike journey this summer – all for a good cause.

McDermott, a senior at the University of Colorado at Boulder, and Bell, a University of Colorado sophomore, are both members of the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity.

As their fraternity charity project, they’ll be joining 17 other college students on the 4,000 Journey of Hope bicycle tour from San Francisco to Washington, D.C. beginning June 8.



The Journey of Hope is a fundraiser sponsored by Push America, a charity that raises money for organizations that serve people with disabilities.

“It’s something I’ve wanted to do since my freshman year, but I finally had the chance to do it,” said McDermott, a 2007 GSHS graduate and a business major at CU Boulder’s Leeds School of Business.



“I couldn’t be more excited, humbled and honored to be able to participate in such an amazing event,” McDermott said. “I hope to influence the lives of everyone I meet along the way.”

During the trip, after pedaling an average of 80 miles a day, he and Bell will be involved in “friendship visits” at various stopping points, meeting and working with people who have disabilities.

“These people face challenges every day that most of us will never experience, so the challenge before us is nothing by comparison,” McDermott said.

Bell, a 2009 GSHS graduate, said he worked all summer to save up the money for a new Cannondale road bike to use on the ride.

“This is the first time I’ve done anything like this,” he said. “We have a long way to go with our fundraising before we even get to the ride.”

He and McDermott are working to raise up to $10,000 each for the charity, as well as raising awareness about the various organizations that work with the disabled.

“Every cent that is donated is appreciated, and goes a very long way in influencing the lives of people with disabilities all across the country,” said McDermott, who has started a web log (blog) at brycemcdermott.wordpress.com, where people can donate.

Information about the Journey of Hope and the charity work can also be found at http://www.pushamerica.org/events/JOH, where the names of participants can also be searched and donations made.

“It will definitely be a life-changing experience,” said Bell.

The Journey of Hope was created in 1987 by one man who made a solo trek across the United States on his bike to raise awareness about people with disabilities. Today, the Journey of Hope includes three long-distance tours covering a northern route, a transatlantic route, and the southern route, which is the one McDermott and Bell will be taking.

The tours are now solely comprised of members of Pi Kappa Phi. The journey for McDermott and Bell will begin June 8 in San Francisco and is scheduled to finish Aug. 13 in Washington, D.C.

In addition to his studies and fraternity work, McDermott is also one of the “Ralphie Runners” at CU, running Ralphie the buffalo around the field before all home CU football games. He plans to graduate in May.

jstroud@postindependent.com


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