Swan City hosts Texas 4000 riders


The longest annual charity bike ride in the world left the Swan City Friday morning.

Riders in the Texas 4000 charity ride stopped in Grande Prairie, spending the night at Revolution Place. The 28 cyclists, all students, travel from Austin, Texas to Anchorage, Alaska to raise awareness and money for cancer research.

“It’s been interesting. Everyone has their own idea of what it’s going to be like but you don’t really know what to expect until you’re actually on the ride,” said rider Joshua Yap.

And the unexpected certainly was experienced. At one point, the riders were chasing Hurricane Bill through Eureka Springs, Arkansas – Yap’s favourite memory thus far.

“It was raining like crazy, there were mudslides so we had to keep stopping and starting because we have a lot of safety rules,” said Yap.

“We had to keep stopping and starting and get off the bikes for a little bit and just sit there in the rain, eating snacks under a tree. I think those are the days where you’re humbled to be where you are. Not everyone gets the opportunity to get on their bike and go across the country and have people sponsor you and donate to you.”

For rider Levi Joseph, one of the highlights was a stop in Vicksburg, Mississippi, a site of a Civil War battle.

“We stopped at several ruins of the era of the Civil War and it was a 130-mile day, which was an epic bike ride,” he said. “We rode a little over nine hours, 130 miles, the most we’ve ever ridden.”

Each rider has been touched by cancer in some way. Joseph is riding for his best friend’s mother, who is currently in remission.

“She’s a wonderful woman and she has a rare form of cancer,” he said. “She was diagnosed after my senior year of high school… I transferred schools in elementary and Glenn (her son) was kind of my protector and showed me around and kept the bullies away… when his mom was diagnosed our roles were reversed and I was helping him out.”

Yap is riding for two; a childhood friend who passed away from brain cancer and his father.

“My dad actually developed cancer after I joined the ride,” he said. “He developed stage-four colon cancer and it spread… the doctor gave him a two-year prognosis to live. But the first day we passed in to Canada, I got a call from my mom actually saying he was in remission.”

Grande Prairie was the 48th day of their trip and their next stop was Dawson Creek.

Written by Jocelyn Turner

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