Editor’s note: A previous version of this article said the ride covered 40,330 miles. This article has been amended with the correct number of miles covered, 4,370.
Thirty bikers and eight crew members set out on a journey from Seattle, Washington on June 7 to reach Washington D.C. on August 12 for the annual bike ride, Journey of Hope.
Journey of Hope, an event hosted by Pi Kappa Phi’s philanthropy The Ability Experience, is a cross-country bicycle ride that raises awareness for people with physical and mental disabilities. The ride consists entirely of Pi Kappa Phi fraternity brothers and covers 4,370 miles.
Among the 30 bikers is Colorado State University’s very own Pi Kappa Phi member, Ryan Duke.
Born in Parker, Colorado and a current CSU senior studying business, Duke hopped on a bike to be a part of the Journey of Hope experience.
According to Duke, members of Pi Kappa Phi are encouraged to participate in the Journey of Hope bike, given that every Pi Kappa Phi chapter throughout the nation takes the event seriously. Duke said it also shows what being in a fraternity is truly about.
“It is a good way to spend your summer,” Duke said. “It is a good way to learn about yourself and help out the community.”
While raising awareness is the main goal, being able connect with people with disabilities is something the fraternity takes seriously as well. Along the journey, the riders and crew members get in contact with a town’s local organization that works with people with disabilities to set up friendship visits with them.
“They really look forward (to) us coming,” Duke said. “The knowledge and perspective you gain from them is something that will never leave you.”
One of Duke’s most rewarding and memorable friendship visits was with a man he met in Casper, Wyoming. The man worked with local disability awareness organizations until he was diagnosed with a brain tumor that limited the use of his legs.
After hearing the man’s story, Duke said his outlook on life changed into a positive and thankful one.
“I talked to him for a long time, and he just preached to me,” Duke said. “It made me realize (that) if a man like that who had everything can look at life as, ‘Do not sweat the little things but embrace them,’ it makes the long day seem short, and the good deeds even greater.”
Duke feels as if his experience with Journey of Hope is much more than raising awareness. Duke believes that participating in Journey of Hope is what being in a fraternity is about, building on a long-lasting brotherhood by challenging yourself and stepping up to join others to help other communities through an amazing experience.
Duke’s advice to any Pi Kappa Phi member that wants to participate is to not think about the miles, but just ride.
“Life is too short,” Duke said. “Don’t count the miles, make the miles count.”
Collegian reporter Yvette Redwood can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.