Three Somerset County friends are training for a bicycle ride from coast to coast — for a good cause.
Jenny Shank, 58, Chris Fadness, 67, and Syd Bowersox, 71, will be traveling across the country on a WomanTours bike tour. The New York organization is dedicated to bike tours for women. The trip starts March 10 in San Diego, California, and ends May 4 in St. Augustine, Florida. There will be 25 women on the tour.
“What is truly symbolic about the trip is you dip your back tire in the Pacific Ocean to start the trip and we’ll put our front tire in the Atlantic Ocean at the end,” Fadness said.
The friends have been working out for at least five years together and have biked at several locations across the country, including from Pittsburgh to Washington, D.C., several times. One memorable trip was the Katy Trail State Park in Missouri. The group completed the tour in October. They did a Death Valley tour through WomanTours as well.
“We did Death Valley and was so impressed,” Fadness said. “I said I wanted to do something next winter, except longer.”
So they decided in March to start preparing for the cross-country tour.
“In 58 days we will have had eight days off,” Bowersox said. “It is over 3,200 miles.”
Bowersox will be riding part-time and driving one of the support vehicles. She said she is excited for the challenge.
“I think I will enjoy helping people along the way,” she said.
Along with seeing the country, Shank said that they are raising money for New Bikes for Kids. All of the money raised will go toward purchasing bikes for Somerset County students.
“In a time where video games pull kids to the couch, it’s neat to see the continued attraction of owning a bike,” Shank said. “Seeing kids outdoors having fun biking while getting the added benefit of exercise is a win-win situation. We are excited to be part of raising money for this endeavor.”
Shank said they will raise money until May and then go to a local vendor to buy bicycles.
“If we could help 100 kids that would be awesome,” Fadness said.
The group is working out and continuing to train for their trip.
“My goal is to ride every mile,” Fadness said.
Shank said she is most looking forward to California.
“Climbing out of those mountains is really going to be a challenge,” she said.
Fadness said she is looking forward to Texas, as her husband will be on a fishing trip at the same time. Bowersox said that her family is meeting her in Alabama for her birthday.
Each night they will change roommates to bond with the other women on the tour. The women formed a group, Cycling Sistas, with other women they met on their biking adventures.