Chad Anderson and Drew Mitchell pedaled their bicycles across the Golden Gate Bridge on May 17. Seven weeks, four flat tires and 100 free meals later, they rolled into Yorktown, Va., on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean -- 3,700 miles from their starting point.
With their transcontinental bike ride, the two sophomore business majors raised more than $7,000 in online pledges in the Bike America BK4, which this year's sophomore class has adopted as its project. Funds raised support Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Texas. "For four years of our lives we are calling Waco our home, and how awesome an opportunity this is to get involved in the lives of people right here in Waco," said Mitchell, vice president of the Class of 2006.
Anderson has been a Big Brother to 13-year-old Simon for the past several months. "It has been great for Simon because he has received what he was missing in his life, which was a male role model," Anderson said. "It has also shown me the difference one person can make in a community and for an organization like Big Brothers Big Sisters."
On their journey, the two sometimes stayed with friends and Baylor alumni but often had to fend for themselves, camping and asking for donations of food. Because they were speeding along at a pace that burns about 700 calories an hour, getting enough to eat was no small task.
On June 9 in Benton, Kan., they stopped at the home of a friend, Emily Page, where they ate long and hardy. That night, they wrote in their online journal: "We're sure gonna miss Mama Page's home cookin' when we get back on the trail, and the wonderful hospitality of Mr. Page. It was a perfect halfway point for our trip."
Despite the strenuous ride, rainy days, strong winds in Kansas -- and too many meals of tuna and crackers -- they said they enjoyed meeting new people and seeing new sights. They witnessed a campsite wedding and joined the reception in Eureka, Nev., and were impressed with the Amish communities they passed through in Kentucky. They also loved watching an occasional NBA playoff game on television.
In an excerpt from their online diary on July 1, the final day of the trip, Mitchell wrote, "Lots of time to think out there on those lonely roads, but God definitely showed his love and care for us, bringing us safely to an end. I don't think the trip could've gone any better. ... The experiences and memories will last a lifetime."