TCU junior Clayton Rogers and sophomore Asher Smith were in Iowa Tuesday afternoon, about halfway through a cross-country cycling trek to raise money and awareness for people with disabilities.
"You're not only riding a bike across the country," Rogers said. "You're getting an opportunity to give back to people with disabilities."
The ride is called 'Journey of Hope', a two-month cycling trek to raise money for The Ability Experience, the charity of the fraternity Pi Kappa Phi. Rogers and Smith are members of the TCU chapter.
"I have not ridden a bike since I was 5-years old," Smith said. "Clayton actually helped me with my first ride while training, and I fell almost eight times just trying to clip in my pedals!"
Now they ride about 100-miles a day with their group. They started in San Francisco on June 13, and have cycled through California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Nebraska, and Iowa so far. In each stop, they have 'friendship visits' to spend time with the people for whom they are raising money.
"Having a disability does not mean you have an inability," Rogers said. "Accepting everybody for their different abilities and being inclusive to everybody and just helping spread that message of positivity, like we're trying to do each and every day on the bike."
"It's not that having a disability doesn't come with challenges. It's that they're able to do everything with those challenges that they have to face every day," Smith said. "Seeing that is a very humbling experience."
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Smith and Rogers had to raise a minimum of $6,500 to do the ride. Both are still raising money for the charity. The team's goal is to raise $700,000 for The Ability Experience. The TCU students said they will take lessons from the experience with them for the rest of their lives.
"I never want it to stop," Smith said. "I want this to be my life now."
The 'Journey of Hope' ends in Washington D.C. on August 14.