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Cycling for advocacy

Members of a fraternity cycled across the country to raise funds and awareness for those with disabilities.

Journey of Hope participants, who range between the ages of 18-23, attend universities across the country and are part of fraternity Pi Kappa Phi, shared a meal and conversation with residents of Helton House, based in Rice, at Sheldon’s Motel and Restaurant in Keysville.

After staying overnight at Hotel Weyanoke in Farmville, the bikers had a breakfast at Hardee’s and continued on their way to Washington D.C.

Helton House, who sponsored the bikers during their stop in Farmville, offer services and activities for adults with intellectual disabilities.

Their journey started in California, biking across deserts, sometimes in temperatures exceeding 100 degrees. Andrew Beering, student at Purdue University, said the bikers averaged approximately 75 miles a day. Vans accompanied the bikers, one riding behind the last biker in line, and one riding ahead of the bikers at the front of the pack.

Every 10 miles, Mauhaun Taheri, student of University of Alabama in Birmingham, said the bikers would stop, refill their water bottles and continue for another set of their journey.

In the event a biker became ill or needed to rest, they could ride in the vans.

Throughout their trip, they stopped to help various organizations, like Helton House that work with individuals with disabilities.

Beering said he appreciated the opportunities to interact with people and organizations throughout their journey.

“You learned to come out of your comfort zone quickly,” Beering said.

Lisa Harris, Helton House Inc. Human Resources Coordinator, said the bikers enjoyed their stop in Keysville, and getting to interact with community members.

“The Journey Hope guys really enjoyed themselves they said that they were so happy to be staying at a new hotel,” Harris said, “and they were so grateful that Helton House had sponsored them and that they have being sponsoring them for the past four years.”