Cross country bike trip brings brothers to Geneseo
An adventure across America brought a trio of Texas brothers to Geneseo on Wednesday, June 28.
The Jenkins brothers: Bobby from Austin, Raleigh from Houston and Dennis from Dallas, are on a 3,500 mile bike ride from Seattle to New York City.
Their trip is raising funds for a pair of charities The Moss Pieratt Foundation and A Child’s Hope.
The Moss Pieratt Foundation is named in memory of Bobby’s grandson, Moss. His death at 15 months was classified as a Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood (SUDC) and the foundation promotes awareness and raises funds to find a cause or cure for the sudden unexplained death of children over the age of 12 months.
The family also formed A Child’s Hope, a Christian-based organization providing a home for abandoned children in Haiti.
The brothers own ABC Home and Commercial Services, a pest control business in Texas.
When an earthquake struck the island nation of Haiti in 2010, the company was called upon to do work in the country.
“After two years, we were leaving, but there was so much more that needed to be done,” said Raleigh. “We kept seeing all these small, young children with no place to go. It broke my heart.”
A Child’s Hope was created with the goal of building a Christian community for Haitian children.
“It will be a self-sustained community where more than 300 children can grow and be developed into leaders,” said Raleigh.
The two organizations have close ties to one another. “Our first building in Haiti is called ‘Moss Hall’ and Moss’ blanket was buried in the foundation,” said Bobby.
The trio’s ride across America is for “parents who’ve lost children and children who’ve lost parents,” said Bobby.
The trip isn’t the first time the brothers have found themselves crossing America on bikes.
Between his junior and senior year as a student at Texas A&M, Bobby and two friends got on their bikes and decided to pedal from San Antonio to the Canadian boarder.
Years later and approaching 50, Bobby wanted to do the ride again. When his college friends refused, Bobby turned to his brothers.
“It was about an adventure for us three brothers,” said Bobby.
Their mother, Sandy Jenkins, drove a support vehicle and followed the group as they biked north.
That trip raised $150,000 for charity.
“It was a very different experience,” said Bobby. “We wanted to go, and raising money for charity gave us a reason.”
This time, with the brother all nine years older, the trip is about so much more.
“It’s all about the organizations. Every pedal we do is about those two groups,” said Bobby.
The trip is also the group’s first west to east journey, an experience that brought it’s own difficulties.
Nine years ago, when the brothers started in Texas and pedaled north, they spent their first days riding through the flat “and a bit boring” Texas panhandle.
The brothers departed from Seattle for their current journey. By the second day, they’d hit the Cascade Range.
“Hitting the mountains that early in our trip showed if we were ready or not ... we weren’t,” said Dennis.
The three pushed themselves to continue their eastward journey, accompanied again by their mother and joined by “trip coordinator” Chelsea Jenkins, Bobby’s daughter.
Chelsea and Sandy ride in a support vehicle while the Jenkins brothers pedal ahead.
Each day, the group attempts to cover 70 miles, but admits they covered 103 on a day with a strong tailwind.
On Wednesday, June 28 the group started their day in West Liberty, Iowa, before concluding in Geneseo where they spent the night at the Best Western. The following morning, they were again on the road — heading to Ottawa.
For their journey through Illinois, the group followed Route 6.
“Scenery matters when you’re on a bike,” said Bobby.
As they miles have passed, the trio has had the opportunity to experience parts of the country they’ve never visited before.
“We’re constantly amazed by Americans,” said Raleigh. “Every where we go and tell our story, people open their hearts and they open their wallets.”
The group has received positive message of encouragement on their social media feeds and small acts of support throughout the trip.
“People will roll down their window and give us a thumbs up or a nice little beep as they pass,” said Raleigh.
The group plans to arrive in New York City on Thursday, July 13.
More information about their trip is available at www.brothersbike.org.