Team of cyclists on 4,000-mile ride to help fight cancer makes a stop in Central Texas

Columbus Avenue Baptist Church in Waco welcomed the team that trekked through the Ozarks.
Columbus Avenue Baptist Church in Waco welcomed the team that trekked through the Ozarks.(Courtesy photo)
Published: Aug. 13, 2021 at 5:05 PM CDT
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) – Eighty-five bicyclists from the University of Texas at Austin made a 4,000-mile, 70-day bike trek to raise money and awareness in the fight against cancer and the group spent the night in Central Texas on their way to the finish line Friday evening.

The cyclists are part of Texas 4000 for Cancer, a nonprofit, 18-month program for UT students, who are expected to raise a minimum of $4,500, volunteer 50 hours in the community and train nearly 2,000 miles before the summer long ride.

Yash Desai is one of the riders on this year’s team.

“The mission involves biking 4,0000 miles across the country in order to spread hope, knowledge and charity in the fight against cancer,” Desai said.

In years’ past, riders would go from Austin to Anchorage, Alaska, but this year, because of COVID-19, four different teams followed four different 4,000-mile routes in the Sierra, Ozarks, Rockies, and Smoky Mountains.

Along the way, the riders were welcomed at places like schools, churches, YMCAs and even private homes.

This week Columbus Avenue Baptist Church in Waco welcomed the team that trekked through the Ozarks.

Bicycle World in Waco, which also helps keep the riders’ equipment rolling, was instrumental in helping not only host but making sure the group is equipped for the long haul.

Addison Xu, a student rider, said while the biking itself is fun and challenging, it’s a small part of what the group does.

“The first semester of the 18-month program is just learning the logistics of the organization,” she said. “You start fundraising for the minimum $4,500. You start volunteering and you have to do a minimum of 50 hours in the community and then the next semester is when we start training.”

Student Maya Kanani says biking around the country gives the group an opportunity to not only talk about cancer but listen to other’s experiences, too.

“People are just so willing to share their stories immediately. You tell them what we are doing about our mission, about the fact that we are fighting cancer literally with every peddle stroke and they’re willing to tell you things that are very moving about their lives, about their cancer journeys and people in their lives that have been affected by cancer.”

The group plans to cross the finish line around 5 p.m. Friday at the center of the UT campus by the Texas Exes Center.

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