We already told you about Rockhurst grad student Skyler Meyers attempt to raise $9,800 for Kansas City Missouri's School District to buy new books by biking to the Continental Divide.
Covington, giving some words of encouragement, Meyers made it one day
on without problems. Then his back tire started to go out.
"I had to stop, unload all my gear, changed it and realized it was
going low again," Meyers says. "I had to do it five times to keep it
rideable. I was completely dehydrated. I woke up the next morning
Meyers made it a considerable distance on the highway going against
the wind with a bum wheel, riding with metal scraping against the
asphalt. He hoped a mega-store like Wal-Mart would carry the basics of
tire repair, but it turns out that if you're riding a Schwinn you're
out of luck.
Meyers eventually found a shop with the necessary equipment to fix his bike. But there were still dangers. Most often he spent the night at the homes of friends at relatives he passed along the way. But then there were the times he was to exhausted to ride any further and was at the mercy of small towns and creepy hotels in west Kansas.
"There's one town about 70 miles west of Manhattan ... that's the kind of town where you can't tell if it's more like Northern Exposure or Twin Peaks. There's that slightly twisted creepiness. Then there are the towns that have pretty much been deserted because everyone's going somewhere else for work. You see houses that no one lives in with lawns that are kept up just for appearances."
Along the way Meyers tagged his route with fliers on how to donate cash for books and talked about the district to anyone who'd listen.
Even having ridden so much on a bad wheel, the last day of the ride was the most physically grueling. Over 56 miles, Meyers climbed roughly 5,000 feet in elevation.
"My legs were burning. I could barely breath. My head was getting light and I didn't have much water left. Until this I'd never actually ridden up a pass or done elevation climbing and I didn't train for it because I didn't know how to."
Meyers realizes that this trip isn't going to solve all the district's problems. Of course it won't. But maybe it'll bring in a few books and raise some awareness, and that's something.
"I love a cynic, I love listening to George Carlin. This bicycle trip isn't going to solve every issue but it's getting people involved and it helps when people hear 'Yes I do care.'"
Come on guys, the dude tortured himself over 800 miles just to raise little awareness that our kids need decent textbooks. Is your heart so stony you can't throw a little cash to them?