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UND’s Coyle bikes across country for cancer awareness

UND football player Devin Coyle is biking across the country — from his hometown in Mandan to St. Petersburg, Fla. — a trek of roughly 2,500 miles.

Biking, though, isn’t the point of this trip. Coyle, a redshirt freshman safety last fall, doesn’t even consider himself an avid biker.

“Absolutely not,” he said. “We biked 65 miles the other day and that was the furthest any of us three had ever ridden a bike.”

Biking is just an avenue for a larger cause for Coyle. The point of the excursion is to raise awareness for cancer, he said. His initiative is called Bike2Believe.

Coyle, along with fellow Mandan natives Joe Berger and Brock Schauer, plan to stop at cancer research and treatment hospitals along their path to try to raise money and awareness for their cause.

The Bike2Believe members say they have already generated $130,000, including in-kind donations. Their goal is to raise $500,000.

Coyle’s trip started Monday with a trip to the Roger Maris Cancer Center in Fargo. The crew hopes to stop at about a dozen such hospitals en route to Florida.

The route will take them through Jamestown, Fargo, Minneapolis, Rochester, Minn., Madison, Wis., Milwaukee, Chicago, Indianapolis, Louisville, Ky., Nashville, Tenn., and Atlanta.

A truck provided by Kupper Chevrolet in Mandan and a camper donated by Riverwood RV in Mandan will follow the three along the way. They hope to bike about 65 miles per day, resulting in a trip of 45 to 50 days.

Coyle said all three members of his group have had a close encounter with cancer in their family. That was the trigger for the biking idea, he said.

“We wanted to help people out,” Coyle said. “A lot of people are struck with this or know someone close who is.”

The idea started last summer and the group of friends started jotting down plans in a notebook.

“We’ve been working on this for 10 months and it’s crazy it all starts now,” Coyle said.

Despite the lack of a hardcore biking background, Coyle said he isn’t too concerned with the mileage.

“We’re not too nervous about the physical aspect,” he said. “We’re more concerned now with the safety. There are some narrow roads in Wisconsin and Tennessee will have some mountains.”

Coyle said North Dakota is the only state he can bike on interstate roads.

Coyle was a special teams contributor for UND last fall and a reserve safety. He had a decorated prep career at Mandan, where he was named the 2011 Gatorade North Dakota Player of the Year in football. In 2011, he led the state in passing yards (1,525), touchdown passes (18) and total offense (1,949).

Anyone interested in donating can go online to Coyle said 80 percent of fundraising will go to the Bismarck Cancer Center Foundation and 20 percent will go to the American Cancer Society.