Pedaling Across America: How one man’s 3,300 mile bike journey is raising funds for less fortunate
REHOBOTH BEACH, Del. – After a 3,300 mile bike ride across the country, Erik Andrews ended his journey in Rehoboth Beach. After more than ten years of volunteering with the Appalachia Service Project – he took matters into his own hands when build trips were cancelled due to COVID-19. “It became clear that the potential for the 14 or 15,000 youth and adults that go out to do hundreds of home repairs in the summertime might get canceled,” said Andrews.
Throughout his journey, Andrews pedaled in the work boots he wore over his years as a volunteer builder. “Other bicyclists who I talked to said ‘You’re crazy’ – and I may be. I know that this does take away from a lot of the power of the bicycle stroke – and I understand that,” said Andrews.
The goal was to raise $20,000 to supplement the ASP. By the time Andrews reached Rehoboth Beach, more than $50,000 had been raised by his bike ride. “It was overwhelming and a little bit humbling to see that, and to watch him go day by day and to hear the stories,” said ASP’s Senior Development Officer Dave Kelley.
Volunteers who are locally involved with the ASP say that Andrews’ trip serves as a great example for others. They say that the trip was Andrews’ idea – and his out of the box thinking is a huge help to the organization. “All of us are scratching our heads when this pandemic hit. It’s like we’re so used to going to Central Appalachia to work on houses during the summer. What can we do different?” said volunteer Butch Barton.
Andrews says that some of the more difficult parts of his journey involved biking through the heat of the Mojave Desert – and the heights of the Continental Divide. But the biggest lesson learned came from connecting with different people and sharing his story across the country. “It’s not just a big country. There’s a lot of wonderful people in this country; People that would do anything for you,” said Andrews.
Andrews says the next stop of this journey is home. He’ll be driving back with his family and seeing loved ones along the way. Andrews says he couldn’t have done the trip without his family – who supported him along the way. His daughter even rode alongside him on her bike for the last leg of the journey. Andrews, Kelley, and Barton also say that getting the word out about the cross-country ride couldn’t have been possible without the help of their friend Steve Merrill.
If you’d like to help out with Andrews’ fundraiser for the ASP, you can donate here.