This year, we launched a new program where we partner with bike teams from across the U.S. to spread the word about PeopleForBikes and bring new riders into our movement. These groups focus on everything from triathlon to road racing to social rides to cross-country excursions.
Each month, we will showcase one of the PeopleForBikes Teams who is working hard to improve bicycling in their communities. This month we hear from Troop 165 bicycling team, Eagle Scouts Cycle Across America, in Fredericksburg, VA.
When most people think about Boy Scouts, they see kids in uniform learning how to build a fire, pitch a tent or survive in the great outdoors. There is one troop, however, that pushes the limit every year and enjoys redefining what scouting can truly mean. How do they do it? Through bicycling.
Scoutmaster Bruce White has always been an avid bicyclist. So when he took over leadership of Troop 165 in 1998, he wanted to share his passion for bicycling with the scouts, as well as the health and fitness benefits that go along with it. In the past 16 years, Troop 165 has ridden more than 300,000 miles, with riders ranging from 8-year-old boys to men who proclaim to be “old and busted.” Their rides range from quick 20-mile practice rides through downtown to 100-mile century rides to week-long excursions.
They’ve ridden the entirety of the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal from Pittsburgh, PA to Washington, DC five times, the Erie Canal from Buffalo to Albany, NY three times, Battery Park in New York City back home to Fredericksburg, from Tampa Bay to Key West, FL, San Francisco to San Diego, CA, Key Largo to Key West, FL, Ocracoke to Corolla, NC, and Abingdon to Fredericksburg, VA.
Looking to ride even more, the troop decided that their big trip for 2014 would be something they’ve never done before: ride across the US! That’s how the Eagle Scouts Cycling Across America (ESCAA) Team was born.
Logging the miles for the upcoming trip
During their cross-country journey, the team will be staying at many local Boy Scout Camps, giving them an opportunity to not only see how other parts of the country approach scouting, but also to give them an opportunity to promote their ideals of fitness, health, overcoming adversity and the dangers of youth obesity.
The members of ESCAA have been preparing for this adventure for more than a year now. With routine weekly exercises, planning meetings and fundraisers, the team is getting ready for any and all obstacles that may come their way during the cross-country adventure. In June, ESCAA will have spent more than 18 months planning and organizing the trip of a lifetime. On June 14th, a huge send-off ceremony on Stinson Beach, VA will send the team on their way. For the remaining 63 days, the team will trek through nine states, ride close to 4,000 miles, climb more than 150,000 feet of elevation and see the wonderful views that our country has to offer firsthand.
The team still has some work to do before leaving for their adventure. They are working hard to raise funds to meet their budgetary needs to cover lodging, food, equipment maintenance, fuel and various other costs. Two weeks before they leave, they are hosting a 24 hour bike-a-thon fundraiser where the team will cycle around a one-mile loop as many times as they can within a 24 time period. ESCAA is seeking pledges of at least $.01 per mile of the total miles ridden by the entire team. With a goal of 200 miles per person, a total mileage of 2,600 miles will only cost a penny-pledger a grand total of $26.
If you would like to help support Troop 165 and the ESCAA team, please take time to visit their website or visit their GoFundMe page. You can also contact Scoutmaster Bruce White at HTCDIGTREE@aol.com.
If you are interested in being a PeopleForBikes team in the future, head on over to our signup page to leave your info.