Hearts & Bikes: Riding to Help Others
One day, Jayson Orvis and his daughter were driving from Las Vegas to their home in Bountiful, Utah. Allie asked him if it was possible to bike that distance. He told her that it was possible , but the 420-mile jaunt would be “very hard”.
The high-school sophomore wasn’t discouraged by the distance, though, nor by the fact that she wasn’t evena cyclist. She was intrigued with the adventure. Impulsivel, she proposed a dad-and-daughter ride to Vegas from Salt Lake in July. To Dad’s credit, he accepted the challenge. He even bought road bikes.
Allie remembered feeling klutzy on her first bike ride in April, and the 15-mile distance was tough. “I thought I was going to die at mile 13, because I was so tired and it was so hard!” Yet a few rides later, she discovered something else:
“I started loving biking. It felt effortless, like flying!”
Both father and daughter were joined by cycling friends who were soon caught up with Allie’s enthusiasm for a multi-day ride to Vegas. This long desert ride through the heat of July was starting to attract other cyclists, and Allie wanted to give the organized ride a meaningful purpose. Allie had been on the Navajo reservation several times and was aware of the poverty and need for decent housing. She was familiar with Hearts and Hands in Action, a non-profit organization that provides housing for Native Americans in need. She decided she’d make that her motivation. That’s how “Hearts and Bikes” became a real cause for this teen.
Allie assembled a website (Hearts and Bikes) for the ride, started the fundraising, worked out the logistics for 40 riders,which included stretching the route to 565 miles simply to make it safer. She even went on local TV to publicize it. As a high school student, Allie didn’t let up on her studies nor did she drop out of the school play.
She was usually not home from school until 6:30 at night and it was difficult to get in much riding time. Dad wondered how Allie was going to do it by training mainly on Saturdays until school was out. Blessed with youthful passion and confidence, Allie pulled off the six-day Hearts & Bikes ride to Las Vegas and raised $10,000, enough to build a home for a Navajo family.
Riders started their 65-mile final day with a long climb through red rock canyons. While the other riders were tiring, Allie enjoyed an energy surge as she finished. A novice cyclist only three months earlier, she had just biked over 500 miles for a cause she calls, “close to home and close to the heart.”
She is eagerly planning the next cycling adventure for summer 2011.
(Allie’s website is http://heartsandbikes.com/)