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Baylor sophomores bike coast to coast for charity

Aug. 23, 2004

By CANDACE WATERS, contributor

Two Baylor sophomores biked 3,700 miles across the country from San Francisco to Yorktown, Va., this summer and raised more than $7,000 for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Texas.

Chad Anderson, a Grand Rapids, Mich., sophomore, and Drew Mitchell, a Porterville, Calif., sophomore, left San Francisco on May 17 and biked through California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri and Kentucky -- before arriving in Virginia -- their last state, on June 23. They made the trip on a shoestring budget, relying mostly on donations for food and lodging from strangers.

In Boulder Town, Utah, Mitchell wrote, "We are still at $0 spent and zero flats." However, the next day in Blanding, Utah, the pair had to buy a gallon of water, which cost them $3.

Anderson and Mitchell worked with the Baylor Alumni Association to find alumni throughout the United States to contribute food, shelter and support on their journey.

A typical day on the road for Anderson and Mitchell began around 7 a.m. They biked roughly 100 miles per day, weather permitting. They said their meals consisted mostly of double cheeseburgers and a shake from whatever restaurant was willing to donate food. Snickers and granola bars with peanut butter were also a popular snack.

A bicyclist named Mike who they met on their trip said, "The best way to get the calories you need, since you lose about 700 per hour, is to dip peanut butter."

Anderson and Mitchell faced many challenges on the way, the weather being primarily difficult because it was out of their control.

"It was about 95 degrees and no shade," Mitchell wrote in his June 5 journal. "We also had to drink our water hot because it was so hot out."

They encountered heavy rainstorms in Utah and strong winds in Kansas. Another one of their misfortunes was a collision involving the two while traveling through Colorado.

"Chad came up to my left, and I thought he was going to my right, so I hit his front wheel with my back tire," Mitchell wrote. "Chad flew off his bike. Luckily he only had a few scrapes on his legs, but I felt pretty bad about it."

Throughout their trip, the two kept in contact with the Waco community by writing e-mails about their everyday events as well as promoting Bike America 2K4 along their way.

"We met the news [reporters] at Wendy's, and they interviewed us and filmed us riding our bikes," Anderson wrote in his journal Newton, Kan.

The pair biked every day with only one day off in Wichita, Kan. to mark their halfway point.

"We ran down to the bike shop and got some new tubes after all the flats I've been having," Mitchell said.

Despite some undesirable weather conditions and four flat tires between the two, they arrived in Yorktown, Va.

"I don't think the trip could've gone any better, and I don't think there is one thing I would change about it," Anderson said. "The experiences and memories will last a lifetime. Coming into towns and areas of the country we had never been before and depending on people to help and support us brought a lot out of us.

"We started from the Pacific Coast in San Francisco and biked across the country, through every element imaginable and made it to Yorktown and the Atlantic Ocean. We threw our bikes down and ran into the ocean to celebrate."