Archived Story

Cycling for a cause

Published 4:05pm Friday, July 12, 2013

A lot of people go to the beach this time of year, but not everyone does so by way of a bike, except for cousins Jesse Beller and Garrett Caldwell.
The two Indiana natives have been on a 703-mile journey from their home state to Fort Walton Beach, Fla. since July 6.
And they’ve pedaled every single one of those miles and will continue to.
As of now, Beller and Caldwell are near Huntsville and tomorrow will ride from there to Alexander City before stopping over for the night.
“So far, the trip has gone well,” said Beller. “There’s been a few hiccups along the way, but it’s nothing we can’t handle.”
So, why are two young men from Indiana doing biking across multiple states in a week’s time?
“Our grandmother got breast cancer a few years ago,” Beller said. “When she became cancer-free, the hospital bills started coming. The American Cancer Society stepped in and helped us with the bills when we couldn’t pay them. We thought this would be a good way to give back.”
So for 100 miles a day, Beller and Caldwell have pedaled and pedaled in an attempt to raise money and cancer awareness.
According to Beller, it’s working, and there has been an outpouring of support from various locals in the states that the cousins have traveled through.
Along the way, Beller and Caldwell have been assisted with free hotel rooms in several of their stops.
They have yet to pay for a hotel in the state of Alabama, and that will continue to be the case when the two stop at the local Days Inn.
“People have been really willing to help out,” Beller said. “People in Alabama have been particularly supportive. They’ve been really helpful.”
Caldwell, who got Beller interested in cycling, never thought that what he originally envisioned as a hobby would become a weeklong journey across five states.
“I just started cycling a couple years ago,” Caldwell said. “I thought it would be something fun to do and something that would let me get away. I didn’t take it seriously at first, but I never thought this would happen.”
And while the journey is for a good cause, that hasn’t stopped Beller and Caldwell from taking in new sights and experiences – both good and bad.
“We’ve seen a lot of cool things,” Caldwell said. “We’ve turned this into an adventure. But it hasn’t been just downhill for us. There have been a few up-hills.”
Nevertheless, while the cycling cousins have taken the time to enjoy their excursion, they haven’t lost sight of why they’re doing this.
“We want to raise as much money and awareness as we can,” Beller said.
“The most important thing is to raise awareness,” Caldwell added. “People are more apt to donate and join the cause if they know about it. We hope that finishing this trip can inspire others.”
Anyone who is interested in helping Beller and Caldwell during their trip can reach them via email at bike.for.life.2012@hotmail.com.
As for why Fort Walton Beach, Fla. has been chosen as the destination for the two, well the answer is pretty simple according to Beller.
“We figured it would be a nice ride.”

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