Bikers for Honduras: SDSU fraternity brothers make once-in-a-lifetime journey
After graduating from college, some immediately go on to take entry-level jobs. Others settle into post-graduate malaise, weary and anxious about the future.
But five South Dakota State University fraternity brothers are going straight from graduation to the journey of a lifetime — cycling across all 48 states in the mainland U.S. for a good cause.
Delta Chi brothers Mike Amen, Chris Ruggeberg, Chris Gould, Shaheed Shihan and Brett Citrowske will travel more than 10,000 miles to raise money for school construction in Honduras.
The brothers stopped in Dickinson for supplies on Friday, less than two weeks into their trip. The journey began May 13 in Brookings, S.D., only three days after they graduated.
Ruggeberg, the fraternity’s president, said a shared love of charity and travel led them on their journey. A few of the fraternity brothers had traveled to Honduras on a service trip, he added, and saw the need for elementary and high schools near the city of Comayagua.
A large population of orphans live in a place dubbed the City of Refuge. The cyclists have a goal of raising $100,000, which will be matched by the City of Refuge’s founder up to $150,000, according to The Great 48’s website.
Ruggeberg said the children need education to prosper and, hopefully, attend college like he did.
While traveling on two tandem bicycles and one two-wheeled bicycle, the men reach out to good samaritans by knocking on doors for couches to sleep on. They also use websites like CouchSurfing.org and WarmShowers.org.
On Thursday night, they stayed at Richardton’s Assumption Abbey. And, at an early point in their trip, no one has gone without a shower for more than two days, Gould said.
“People have been very supportive and kind so far,” Ruggeberg said.
In the afternoon on Friday, Ruggeberg said he was still unsure who he would stay with in Medora that night, which is why the tandem bikes pull along tents and other supplies.
By tonight, Gould said he hoped the group would be in Miles City, Mont. The course around the country will take about six months to complete, depending on factors like how the weather cooperates.
“We can’t determine the weather, but we can peddle through it,” Gould said.
Contrary to what they predicted, their collective speed actually increased to about 14 miles per hour as the trip continued, Gould said.
After wrapping up their journey, the men will take a service trip to Honduras to help with construction of the two schools.
As of Saturday night, the men had raised a little more than $1,200. Citrowske said they rely on people they meet along their route to make the campaign successful.
Want to donate?
Those interested in giving to the South Dakota State University fraternity bikers and The Great 48 campaign can find more information by visiting www.gofundme.com/ thegreat48.