As the Trinity community looks toward summer break, students and professors make plans to make the most of it. This summer, two members of the Trinity community will participate in part of a nine-week cross-country bike ride called the Sea to Sea Bike Tour.
The 3,900-mile bike ride serves to raise awareness and funds for those living in poverty around the world. Hosted by the Reformed Church in America, Partners Worldwide, and World Renew, the ride enables individuals, groups, and congregations to actively serve the poor in a new and interesting way.
The ride begins June 22 in Los Angeles and ends August 24 in New York City. Riders have the option to join for certain weeks.
Each entrant must fundraise from their friends, family and churches, with a goal based on how many weeks they will be riding. Donations help both local initiatives in the areas of business and community development and global attempts to provide people around the world access to clean water, immunizations, and other vital medical services.>
Dr. Michael Vander Weele, professor of English, and Kyle Wigboldy, a Trinity financial officer, both plan to take part in this event for a portion of the race.
Vander Weele and his wife Mary will join the race for the last three weeks; their route begins in Grand Rapids, Michigan, goes through Hamilton, Ontario, and Montreal, Quebec, and ends in New York City. Along with their regular training, they plan to do several smaller rides throughout the summer to prepare for the three-week trek.
“I encouraged Trinity alumnus Aaron Carpenter to participate in this fund-raiser four years ago, when he did the whole ride,” said Vander Weele, “and I wouldn’t be doing the ride this time without his strong encouragement. I also have for a long time loved the work of World Renew.”
Wigboldy will ride for one week, covering ground from Iowa City, Iowa, to Grand Rapids, Michigan.
He said, “Doing this ride is good way for me to be an advocate for change, to educate others on the effects of poverty and its scope, and to help others participate in contributing to the needs of people around the world.”
Wigboldy averages between 5,000-8,000 miles of riding each year and hopes to continue that pattern to be physically prepared for the ride.
“I also need to be financially prepared as there is a fundraising expectation. This has been more difficult for me, but I have been making steady progress,” he said. “Learning how to ask for support, and helping others see my passion for World Renew has been a great experience.”
Both riders appreciate the sense of Christian community that surrounds this event.
Vander Weele said, “I love that the ride includes both Canadian and U.S. parts of the church and both the CRC and the RCA denominations. Even better, one-third of the funds will go to local initiatives in towns we will be visiting, and we will meet many of the people working in these programs and be able to encourage them. This seemed like an obvious way to put our passion for biking toward a good end that we really believe in.”