For most GW students, summer vacation means a job, an internship or relaxation at home. But for junior Andrew Metcalf and senior Noah Cherry, summer break meant a two-month, 3,000 mile bicycle trip.
Metcalf and Cherry, both members of the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity, began their expedition in San Francisco and finished in D.C. in August. Metcalf and Cherry peddled across the country as part of Journey of Hope, which seeks to raise awareness and money for those living with a wide range of disabilities.
“Everything we’ve done here is on behalf of people with disabilities,” said Metcalf, who raised $20,000 with Cherry for Journey of Hope. “We’ve all spent the last year raising funds and awareness. This ride was for us to spread awareness of that cause.”
In total, 80 Pi Kappa Phi fraternity members from across the country participated in the ride. Over the past five years, the GW chapter of Pi Kappa Phi has sent 10 brothers on the ride.
“The brothers of the Theta Zeta chapter of Pi Kappa Phi have a proud tradition of sending at least one rider to the Journey of Hope in every year of our existence,” said GW Pi Kappa Phi chapter president Ben Shiffman, a junior. “We are proud to continue to contribute to the philanthropy work of Pi Kappa Phi’s past and present.”
Journey of Hope is divided into three different routes, concentrating on specific areas of the United States. Metcalf and Cherry rode on the “South Route,” which began in San Francisco with 23 other bikers. Two weeks before the journey ended, they headed north to end the trip with the other riders in the District.
Metcalf said the trip was made much easier by the encouragement of their brothers.
“Every day is really a challenge and in a different way, whether it’s hills, heat or headlands,” Metcalf said. “But knowing what we we’re riding for really helped our entire team out.”
Metcalf and Cherry began preparing for Journey of Hope with several fundraisers last year, including Pi Kappa Phi’s War of the Roses event. They also solicited donations in front of the Foggy Bottom Metro station where Metcalf rode on a stationary bike.
Each day, bicyclists rode an average of 70 miles. At the end of each day, riders would partake in “friendship visits” where they would volunteer with people who have disabilities, spread awareness throughout the communities and “do anything to put smiles on the faces of the people we were riding for,” Metcalf said.
Throughout the summer, the riders had roughly five or six days off. Metcalf said that most of these days were spent doing more volunteer work.
Metcalf said, “It was amazing…it certainly is something I don’t think I’ll experience again.”