Cycling through town

The Journey of Hope's annual national charity bicycle ride will pass through Portales for the 10th time June 29.

Journey of Hope, a program of Push America, is a national philanthropy of Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity. The ride raises funds and awareness for people with disabilities.

Cody Shepherd: Courtesy photo

The 2012 Journey of Hope cycling team made a stop at Queen Mary in Long Beach, Calif., last week. The team is gearing up to come through Portales on June 29.

The team will be arriving at 1:30 p.m. to City Park where riders will have a friendship visit. Mayor Sharon King is scheduled to read a proclamation for the riders along with other activities to celebrate their visit. The team is also scheduled to lodge at Eastern New Mexico University for the evening.

The team has 39 participants this year composed of: 30 cyclists, seven crew members and two American Sign Language Interpreters for two members of the team who are deaf.

The team will cycle an average of 75 miles per day, a total of 4,000 miles. The journey began in San Francisco earlier this month and will end in Washington, D.C., on Aug, 5.

Members of the team were asked questions about the ride and their answers have been edited for clarity and style.

Josh Ardnt

Age: 22

School: University of Colorado at Boulder

Major: Architecture

Who are you riding for personally? Do you have any personal connections to people with disabilities?

I have experience in my chapter as well by various Push Bowling events with the Boulder community and I also participated in a Gap Weekend with Push America where I helped build cabins for a camp which provides for people with special needs.

What are the biggest challenges of the ride physically and mentally?

The heat and the hills are the worst thing physically while it's the first and last 10 miles of riding that are the worst mentally.

What has been your favorite experience so far on the trip?

The brotherhood between everyone and the bonds we have built together.

What are you looking forward to while you stay in Portales?

I'm most looking forward to the friendship visit.

Riding with the same people for about two months, how is the bond between the group?

The bond between the brothers is amazing. We all met and got to know each other fast and we are a very diverse group of people from all over the country. It's nice to hear about other schools and their traditions.

Justin Pennington

Age: 20

School: University of Washington

Major: Biochemistry

Who are you riding for personally? Do you have any personal connections to people with disabilities?

I participated in a Give-a-Push weekend with my chapter and my chapter does a West Coast Bike Ride, from Portland to Seattle, that I rode in with other Pi Alphas (members who have participated in a national Push American event) of my chapter.

What are the biggest challenges of the ride physically and mentally?

I feel the heat and the hills are the hardest thing physically. Also, I feel that getting bored on the bike, especially in the middle of the desert, is the biggest obstacle and I have to find ways to make the ride more fun.

What has been your favorite experience so far on the trip?

My favorite part of the trip so far has been the Lake Havasu (Arizona) stop and the amount of enjoyment the brothers had on a yacht on Lake Havasu.

What are you looking forward to while you stay in Portales?

I'm most looking forward to the friendship visit and the people to meet there.

Riding with the same people for about two months, how is the bond between the group?

I love getting to know the guys and all levels because you are able to see the highs and lows of everyone fast. I feel that this speeds up the process of meeting everyone and that it feels like it has been months on this trip already.

Cody Shepherd

Age: 20

Major: Theatre and biology

What are the biggest challenges of the ride physically and mentally?

As a crew member, my biggest mental challenge is making sure that all of the cyclists are safe on the road, especially making sure that they are staying hydrated in the extreme temperatures that we are going through currently.

What has been your favorite experience so far on the trip?

I'd say that my favorite thing on the road has been the hospitality we have received. Everyone welcomes us into their lives and gives so much to us and I appreciate it so much.

What are you looking forward to while you stay in Portales?

We have a friendship visit with a local organization in Portales and we all love the experiences we have at (Friendship Visits) including dinners, dances, etc.

Riding with the same people for about two months, how is the bond between the group?

I feel like the bonds in the group are amazing. We have been together for about three weeks now and I feel like we have been together for months. Everyone enjoys learning about each other, and in the case of the two deaf team members, the team has been learning ASL to be able to communicate with them.

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