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BREAKING NEWS

Bikers have faced many elements

By Staff | Jul 6, 2009

A group of 23 bicyclists were taking a break at Kwik Trip in Blue Earth last Monday morning.

They needed it.

If you remember Monday, it was windy – really windy. These bikers started their day in Albert Lea and were headed to Jackson. This means they were bucking the wind all day long.

They had left Albert Lea at 7:30 a.m. and at 11 a.m. they were just in Blue Earth, with a long way yet to go.

But they were on a mission. A mission to raise money for cancer research.

The 23 bikers had left New York City on May 30, with a goal of biking 4,000 miles across the United States.

After 66 days of bicycling, they hope to be in Portland, Oregon.

Almost all of the bikers are students at the University of Illinois. This is the third year a group of students from that university has made a cross country trek to raise money.

Only one of the bikers has been on one of the previous trips. For the rest it is a new experience.

During their lunch break, the bikers said the trip has been both fun and brutal.

They have encountered a lot of weather; from wind and rain to heat and sun. A lot of rain, one of the bikers said. A lot of wind, another added.

Each of the bikers had to raise a minimum of $2,500 in donations to cancer research in order to participate in the trip.

They also have raised some large donations from corporate sponsors, pointing out some familiar names on their matching shirts.

The group has a support van following along, with their gear and extra bike parts.

They mainly stay in churches and community centers along the way – someplace that is free. Sometimes they get donations from folks as they travel.

They did lose a biker in Chicago, who had to drop out due to family issues. But they also gained one along the way.

They have not been traveling on I-90, but are going along county and state roads.

Next up for the group is a long trip across South Dakota. A few members of the group said they are looking forward to biking over the Rocky Mountains. Others were not so sure.

If you want to check out the trip, go to their website at www.illini4000.org.