Column: New Prospective through cross-country cycling trip


Will Ingram, mass communication junior, bikes. Ingram biked across the country this summer in support of the Ability Experience.

Will Ingram

This summer, I was given an opportunity of a lifetime to ride my bicycle across the country starting in San Francisco and ending in Washington D.C. The trip is an event hosted by The Ability Experience, a non-profit that raises money and awareness for people with disabilities.

The trip took me over the Sierra Nevadas, along Highway 50, over the Rockies, through the cornfields of the midwest and finished with climbing the Appalachian Mountains. This was a feat that I thought would be impossible, but that changed when I got into the trip and knew what was in store for my team after arriving in each city we stopped. Along the way, I learned a lot about myself through the people we would meet at our events with organizations that support those with disabilities.

When we arrived in Salt Lake City, I met a boy named Travis. Travis has neurofibromatosis, a condition that causes tumors to grow on nerve tissue. When he was born, his parents were told that he would not make it past eight. Now he is 12. Seeing him work and succeed in his therapy just brought so much joy and motivation to keep me moving through this journey.

I saw people play baseball, no matter what their physical abilities were. In Steamboat Springs, Colorado, I saw people that never thought it was possible to hike to a waterfall achieve that goal.

One of the most impactful stops for me was in Grand Island, Nebraska. The Ability Experience has been stopping there for almost 30 years. On the day we arrived, the mayor declared that day Journey of Hope Day, and the Arc of Central Nebraska welcomed us. We had a day off in Grand Island, and we spent the entire two days in that city with the Arc of Central Nebraska having dance parties and learning about how The Ability Experience has impacted them. This stop was one of the stops that showed me why I was doing the trip and was a great reset halfway through the trip.

I am forever grateful for the opportunity to cycle the Journey of Hope. I went into the trip to cycle across the country, but came out realizing it wasn’t about the miles. It is about the friendships I made with people across the country and seeing people for their abilities.

Editor’s Note:  Will Ingram lives with cerebral palsy and uses the phrase “The only disability is a bad attitude” as a personal motivational mantra.