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WIU Cross Country Cyclists Stop in QC

Zach Wilson, WVIK News
Cyclist Justin Brown (left), Crew Member Kyle Ramlow (center) and Cyclist Derek Lahey (right) at River's Edge in Davenport on Thursday.

Riding a bike from California to Washington, D.C. is a daunting task, but that’s just how some members of Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity are spending their summer.

Nearly 100 fraternity brothers on three different routes are biking across the country on the  “Journey of Hope” as part of their philanthropic initiative, the Ability Experience. The group’s mission is to share experiences and support people with disabilities.

Three of them are students at Western Illinois University. One of those students, Derek Lahey, says the most important thing is visiting special needs organizations and having what they call “friendship visits.”

“It’s really important to wake up and ride that 70 miles or ride that 100 miles because there are people waiting for us in the next town, who have marked their calendar. They know that on this day the ‘Journey of Hope’ boys are coming through town and we’re so excited to have a party with them.”

Lahey says each of the cyclists fundraised at least $6,000 for the right to participate, with some raising over $10,000.

“What we do is donate money to the organizations that we go to. At one we donated a grant for over $10,000 to the Special Olympics, and then some of them are as small as $500 to a local organization to just help rebuild what they’re doing.”

The fraternity has held the annual bike ride since 1988. Their next stop after the Quad Cities will be in Rockford on Friday afternoon.

To donate to Derek's fundraiser, visit https://www.classy.org/fundraiser/1547876.