Parks Pace, third form left, arrived in New York City recently with fellow members of the bicycle tour group, "She's My Sister." The group, sponsored by the American Bible Society, rode from Dayton Beach, Fla. to New York to raise money and awareness for women suffering rape and violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
ALBANY, Ga. — “It hasn’t quite hit me that we rode that far,” said Parks Pace, an Albany teen, speaking of his recent bicycle trip to New York City from Daytona Beach, Florida.
Pace is a member of the group “She’s My Sister,” which is raising money and awareness for women suffering rape and violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The second annual bike tour was sponsored by the American Bible Society.
Trekking nearly 2,000 miles round trip, the team, accompanied by a van and driver, made pre-arranged stops along the way to speak at churches and Christian organizations about their cause and to solicit donations. While Pace said he is uncertain about the total collected, he says he’s confident the goal of $140,000 was reached.
At the cyclists’ stop at First United Methodist Church in Albany, they raised $1,800, Pace said, and more in some cities. The bikers would sometimes even ask for money while stopped in traffic.
“I gave someone a card at a red light,” Pace said. “They chased me two blocks with the passenger holding 20 bucks out the window.”
On July 4 in Washington, D.C., the riders attended a leadership conference and had a chance to watch a spectacular fireworks display from a boat on the Potomac River.
“That was something special,” Pace said. “We had dinner on the boat and watched the fireworks from just behind the Lincoln Memorial.”
Despite the discomfort and significant risk of riding such a distance, Pace said he never once regretted his discussion or thought about quitting.
“It’s so awesome to go off and do something like that,” he said. “For one thing, you’re on such a high the whole time because you’re doing something very physically active. When you’re out there on the road, your only responsibility is to share your heart and to pedal. When you break it down, it’s pretty simple. I never had a bad day. Riding 115 miles with our legs burning doesn’t touch what those people (in the Congo) are going through.”
On reaching New York City, the members took a night ride through Times Square, pedaling from 10 p.m. until early morning. Even during the day, Pace said Big Apple drivers are “more respectful” of bicyclists.
“It’s because there are so many of them, I think,” he said. “The cab drivers don’t like the bikes, but they have to respect them. Honestly, when I’m driving I don’t like bikes either. I’m afraid I’ll hit one, but in New York there are more bikes than cars.”