When you were young did you ever dream about hopping on your bicycle to see the country? A group of young cyclists are doing just that.
The group is known as the deCycles, and they have been making bicycling trips across the United States since 1968, according to the group’s website. The deCycles are based in Bloomington, Indiana and each year the group picks an area or theme for their annual 1,500-mile journey.
The group arrived in Page yesterday. This year’s adventure began in Tucson and will end in Great Falls Montana. The group of just over 40 riders began their journey just one week ago and will average 90 miles per day.
The group will be staying in Page for a few days at one of the local churches that have opened their doors to the group along the way. During their journey this year, they will be visiting a total of eight national parks – Saguaro, Grand Canyon, Glen Canyon, Rainbow Bridge, Zion, Bryce, Grand Tetons, and Yellowstone. Other places they will be touring include Angels Landing in the Zion Narrows, Salt Lake City for the 4th of July, and a portion of the Continental Divide.
deCycles' website describes the organization as a “a nonprofit ecumenical youth leadership program offering high spirited summer bicycle trips for teenagers and young adults.” According to Norm, one of the group's coordinators, the ride is very demanding on a person’s physical, mental, and spiritual being. However, by the end of the journey, the rider has a better understanding of who they truly are, and have made friends that will last a lifetime.
The riders ride in groups of six, with a veteran group leader heading each group and support vehicles following behind which carry food and drinks for the cyclist’s various breaks throughout each day’s ride.
The ride is open to adults and students from middle school to college. This year there are over 35 student riders ranging in ages from 12 to 69. The youngest of which was 12 when the ride began and turned 13 just days after the journey began.
The group is having a great time on their adventure, however, as there is risk involved in any type of bicycling, there have been some minor injuries along the way. One cyclist was injured during their trip out of the Grand Canyon area, and another was injured going through a construction zone. Both are bumped and bruised but will be fine, and are still travelling with the group.
The deCycles will be leaving early tomorrow morning for the next leg of their trip and will be riding to Kanab, Utah where they will rest again and check out Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon.
Most of the cyclists are from the Bloomington area, but if you are interested in joining in the adventure next summer, the group starts taking applications in January, and begin training in April or when the weather begins to warm up.
Some of the cyclists this year have bicycled with deCycles from coast to coast over the last two summers, and will have cycled from the southern border to the northern border before they even graduate high school.
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