Where in the world is Biking for a Better World? | SierraSun.com

Where in the world is Biking for a Better World?

File PhotoJake Spero, front, helps Biking for a Better World team members John Witherspoon, left, and Sam Skrocke hang up their "Alaska to Argentina" sign outside the Velo Rouge Cafe in San Francisco in August. As of Sunday, the team was in Ecuador and had traveled 9,250 miles since departing Alaska's Prudhoe Bay on June 15.

Biking for a Better World is still plugging away on its 16,000-mile mission.

According to the latest journal entry on the team’s Web site, posted by team president Jake Spero on Sunday, the group had covered 9,250 miles since departing Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, on June 15.

That placed the team just south of Quevedo, Ecuador, with some 6,500-plus miles to go before reaching its destination, Argentina’s Tierra del Fuego.

A non-profit organization, Biking for a Better World is trying to raise $18,000 to finance the construction of a school in Nicaragua. So far the team has raised $14,000 and needs $4,000 more to meet its goal.

The team ” made up of Spero, Duncan Sisson, John Witherspoon and Sam Skrocke, all North Shore residents ” is using the trip to meet as many people as possible to spread word about its cause.

In an Oct. 23 blog entry, Spero wrote that he, Witherspoon and Sisson visited the new school in Nicaragua before continuing south. Skrocke appears to have left the group within the last two months to venture out solo. Although details were not available on the Web site, Skrocke has posted entries about his experience riding alone.

The following is an excerpt from Spero’s Oct. 23 journal entry:

” … As we neared Nicaragua, we learned more and more about the school’s location and what it would involve to get there, and about the people who were in Nicaragua who might be able to help us make it happen. We had to analyze a few things. There was no possibility of riding the bikes there. We would have to rent a four wheel drive vehicle in Estelli, Nicaragua if we were to make the trip. The roads to San Juan del Rio Coco, the closest town to the tiny village of La Bonansa were in very bad condition due to the heavy rainfall we had been witnessing first-hand. …

… Next I knew, I was behind the wheel of a 4wd Nissan truck with a crew cab cruising along at 100+kilo/hour on the Pan-American …

… Back in the truck, traversing the mountains, the new school appeared before our eyes, buried deep in the jungle, and Anibal showed us the old “school” just up the hill, its black plastic roof practically collapsed on the jeep under it.

The students were shy when we came into the classroom. Anibal introduced us, and we gave them candy and answered a bunch of questions. We took pictures outside the school and had the kids jumping up and down and screaming. Everyone was smiling. I stepped on an anthill while trying to get some video footage and my feet started burning. I looked down and my feet were covered with little red ants. I started flipping out, trying to whisk them away. I had to run over to a water bin and dip my feet in to get them off. The kids got a good laugh out of my perfectly timed folly right in front of everyone.

It all happened very fast, but these are moments the three of us will never forget. …”

In Spero’s latest entry Sunday, he writes about the team taking a wrong turn in Ecuador, which, as a result, added miles to the day and cost extra time. He goes on to write about how irritated he was because of the gaff. But after stopping for a break 40 miles into the day, Spero began thinking positive instead of dwelling on the negative. The thoughts soon turned to surprising emotion.

“… I dropped my preoccupation with miles and speed and averages. I let it go. I concentrated on taking in what was around us. All of a sudden everything seemed perfect. Everything made sense. It all lined up. The last five months of my life had brought me more than 9,000 miles down the road from Alaska. Tears started welling up in my eyes. I tried to stop it, but the emotions multiplied, and I realized that something very powerful was flowing through me.

I couldn’t control my happiness. I was overwhelmed. It was something like a religious experience, I guess. Spoon and Duncan rode ahead, no idea what was happening to me behind them, and I eventually told them I needed to stop to pee. They saw I was crying and were worried, but I just gave them each a big hug and thanked them for riding with me. I told them I was so happy, I didn’t know what to do. And then there was silence as we sat there for a few minutes and talked about how beautiful the day and the road and everything around us was. …

I wore a big smile I just couldn’t wipe away. And then we pedaled south, just like we always do, leaving a world we love behind, just to go find a new one just the same.”

To learn more about Biking for a Better World or do donate to the team’s cause, visit http://www.bikingforabetterworld.org.

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