Scholars’ bicycle tour stops in JamestownEastbound drivers on Interstate 94 from Bismarck to Jamestown Monday might have noticed four young men in yellow shirts on bicycles. The quartet of Pennsylvania-based college students and graduates was working on a 100-mile stretch of a cross-country journey it started about three weeks ago.
By: Brian Willhide, The Jamestown Sun
Eastbound drivers on Interstate 94 from Bismarck to Jamestown Monday might have noticed four young men in yellow shirts on bicycles.
The quartet of Pennsylvania-based college students and graduates was working on a 100-mile stretch of a cross-country journey it started about three weeks ago.
Team GCC — composed of two seniors and two recent graduates from Grove City College in Grove City, Pa. — began a bicycle tour of the United States on May 26 in Seattle, Wash., in an effort to raise $25,000 for a need-based scholarship at the team’s college.
“We want to try and provide something at our college that would go to a student that wouldn’t normally be able to get such an opportunity,” said Will Moyer, a May graduate of Grove City College.
If the group raises $25,000 for the scholarship, Moyer said Grove City College will then endow those funds and provide the scholarship each academic year.
“People have helped raise money for scholarships at our college before, but nobody from our school had ever done something like this in terms of the cross-country ride,” Moyer said.
The group stopped in to Jamestown on Monday night, looking to ride to Fargo Tuesday before some high winds and inclement weather kept them from heading out early in the day as members had originally hoped.
“We’ve gone about 1,600 miles so far,” said Jake Loosararian, a senior at Grove City College. “Our goal is New York City, which will have taken us about 4,000 miles.”
The group said it expects to make its final destination by early- to mid-August, depending on how weather cooperates.
Beyond the scholarship, the team said this bicycle tour has given them an opportunity to connect not only with Grove City College alumni, but different people all across the nation.
“You’re living on faith each and every day when you consider that you’ve biked 80 miles or so, you’re tired, you’re exhausted and you don’t know where you’re going to sleep that night,” said Ryan Herman, a GCC senior. “It speaks to the goodness of people that have helped us out and let us stay in their homes or in churches.”
With the help of the college, the team has been able to make connections with alumni nationwide — some of whom have offered up their homes for the group to stay in.
A typical day for the group consists of waking up in an alumni’s home, in the home that a perfect stranger has offered up, or in a church that has offered to house them for the evening. From there, it’s usually a long day of bike riding, with an occasional bite to eat.
“We’re doing pretty well for the most part and getting by on as little as we need to,” Moyer said.
Loosararian said one stop in Glasgow, Mont., let the group join a block party there.
While they’re still hundreds of miles away from their midpoint in Minneapolis, the bicyclists said they have enthusiasm and optimism for the next half of the mission.
“This has been such a powerful experience for us already,” said Mack Lloyd, a May graduate of GCC. “It’s cool to see how people we’ve encountered have reacted to it. Everything has been positive so far, and that just really says something about Americans and their hospitality in general.”
The bicyclists said they especially enjoyed different aspects of the trip.
“Some things I’ve been really touched by are the silent supporters, who have heard about our trip and posted ‘Good Luck’ or ‘Go Team GCC’ signs. There are a lot of good people out there who believe in what we’re doing,” Moyer said.
The group listed the Badlands and the town of Medora among the highlights of the trip in North Dakota so far.
“People here in North Dakota have been so nice to us,” Loosararian said. “They’ve been honking their horns and cheering us on and we love it.”
Through the help of the lesser-known fifth member of Team GCC, senior Jamie Schleicher, they’ve been able to stay connected to those wishing to follow their journey on the Internet.
Schleicher follows the group in a van that Grove City College helped provide. The group’s cross-country adventure can be followed at http://teamgcc.com, which includes a blog of its travels and a feature that allows people to follow the group in real time.
Sun reporter Brian Willhide can be reached at 701-952-8454 or by email at email@example.com