Eighteen days after they set out from San Francisco on their “journey across the nation to meet needs across the world,” cyclists participating in the “Ride 4 World Health” pedaled into Telluride, Colorado.
And on the nineteenth day they rested. Or at least they rested their legs while exercising their tongues. The cyclists spent their layover day talking about the crisis in world health and access to healthcare at a private school, an alternative café, a local radio station and the Telluride public library.
Ride 4 World Health is the brainchild of Andy Wagner, a medical student at Ohio State who feels passionately about cycling, health and social justice. He recruited 20 other people to join him in a transcontinental ride to raise both awareness about the crisis in global health and funds to provide quality healthcare for the poor. Most of the riders are medical students, including seven others from Ohio State. Almost half are women. All are committed to completing the 3,700-mile journey.
The weather along the way hasn’t always been hospitable, but the people have been. As they crossed the Sierra Mountains, the cyclists ran into a spring storm that buried the roads under more than a foot of snow. In order to keep to their timetable, they had to put chains on the tires of their support vehicles and truck their bikes to the next stretch of clear road.
“The reception from people has been spectacular,” Wagner said, when reached on his cell phone between speaking engagements in Telluride. “We’ve had whole towns [Baker, Nevada, population 200] cook a potluck supper and turn out to meet us.”
$110,000 in the bank, $140,000 still to be raised.
All proceeds from pledges and donations received along the route from San Francisco to Bethany Beach, Delaware, will go to Partners In Health.
“Our goal is to raise $250,000,” Wagner said. “$40,000 will cover the costs of the ride. $10,000 will be set aside to keep the organization going and build for another ride. And we’ll donate $200,000 to Partners In Health.”
When they pedaled out of Telluride, the cyclists still had a lot to look forward to – crossing the rest of the Rockies, the Great Plains and the Mississippi, sharing the spotlight on the Ohio State campus with the president of the AMA on an officially dedicated “Global Health Day”, capping the tour with a lecture at Howard University in Washington, and finally, almost two months after they left the Pacific Coast, dipping their toes into the Atlantic. All to support a cause they believe in. All to be able to pay for a year of life-saving antiretroviral treatment for more than 1300 AIDS patients in Haiti or Rwanda.
To learn more about Ride 4 World Health, to donate to the cause, or to monitor their progress across the country with regularly updated blogs, videos and photos, go to www.ride4worldhealth.org.
Ride 4 World Health cyclists celebrate completing their first 100-mile day.