On Tuesday, 76 students will be flown to San Francisco. They’ll return to Indiana by bicycle over the next six weeks. It’s part of a program called DeCycles, which takes riders aged 13 to 22 — many with little long-distance cycling experience — and send them on a cross-country trip.
Doctor Norm Houze got the idea to create the program after his daughters were invited on a bicycle trip as teenagers. Since 1996, more than a thousand students have participated.
“This is a great resume builder, it is amazing after 19 trips, 1200 students, how many have gotten scholarships based upon essay about their DeCycle experience,” Houze says.
During the trip, cyclists will average about 100 miles a day, riding in groups of 6 to 7 people. Usually, groups will be 10 minutes apart from one another throughout the trip. This is a youth development program, where the participants grow mentally, physically and emotionally.
First year rider, James Holler, is 14 and has been training since early March. He rides four times a week, riding between 30 and 80 miles a day.
“My mother has had to sacrifice things for herself and our family in order to buy my equipment and the trip expenses. The only effect I have noticed is I don’t get as many clothes anymore, but I am okay with it,” he says.
The riders expect to complete their journey by riding onto the Bloomington courthouse square on July 13th.