16-year-old Noah Sorensen felt compelled to do something tangible about hungry children. And he found a way to connect something he’s good at – riding a bicycle – to the need he wanted to impact. In Noah’s own words:
I am passionate about solving world hunger, and I want to use my talents to make an impact. I don’t have the resources or the knowledge to go overseas and teach hygiene and agriculture, but I can bike like crazy!
This summer, Noah is riding his bike 5000 miles across the US in an attempt to raise $15,000. He started in Portland, rode down the west coast to LA, then headed east. We asked Noah if we could share one of his recent blog posts, from days 23 – 26 of his ride. These are his unedited words:
I survived Nebraska.
That should be a sticker or something, that cyclists can put on their helmet or panniers after going through Nebraska. They had “I survived the loneliest road in America” pamphlets and stickers and such for people who traversed Nevada in their cars, and biking across Nebraska is far more difficult than driving across Nevada. Someone work on that.
Nebraska is hot. And humid. Though it was on average 10-12 degrees cooler than Nevada, the degree of humidity made it so much less bearable. Not to mention, the roads are long, straight and full of the same old nothing. The towns are deceivingly small. When approaching the towns from 5-10 miles away, they all look like they could potentially have a rest stop, gas station, or at least somewhere to hide away in the shade. Most are accompanied by huge grain silos and processing plants. From a bit away, they look somewhat like large buildings, but as you get closer, you realize they hold far fewer people than an office building. Several towns had populations of less than 400.
I have been learning some good lessons throughout the past few days.
Number one– never toast bagels with a cook stove. They don’t taste right.
Number two– don’t take into account the advice of a local any more than the advice of someone else on the road. Local Nebraskans will warn you about the “huge hills” ahead. I had several even stop on the side of the road and cheer me on up some of the hills. They aren’t that big. They really aren’t. There are alot, but they’re all less than half a mile long. Everyone here has also told me the wind will always be in my favor. That’s not even close to true. I haven’t had a headwind for more than five minutes since Denver. I have been pushing into a constant NE wind for several days now. It doesn’t look like it will subside anytime soon either.
Number three– there are a ton of things I can’t control, I just need to go with whatever happens. Heat, wind, flat tires, humidity, hills, humidity, rain, wind, humidity, you get the point. I can’t control these things. They happem, they persist, but in the end, I’ll make it through. No matter what ends up happening, I always make it through the day.
I’ve been in four different states since I last posted. Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, and Iowa -I even passed another time zone border. In just a few days, I’ll be back on eastern time, and even closer to home.
From cope to McCook was about 140 miles. I tried my best to take it easy and slow, but I ended up totally killing myself. I was so anxious to be done with the day I pushed through the last two hours or so. It wasn’t a terrific idea. The next day, I was slammed by wind, and utter fatigue from the previous day, and I only made it halfway to Hastings. I meant to do that in one day, but ended up taking two full days to get to Hastings, where I then took an unplanned day off to let myself recuperate and prepare for the hiller next few days. After Hastings it was one easy day to Lincoln, and one more easy day to the beautiful campground I’m currently at in Iowa. It hasn’t been bad so far, but I’ve got a 125 mile day to des Moines, and then another 130+ day to Iowa city. I think I’ll take a day off in Iowa city, depending on how I feel.
I have met some really cool people along the way. While in Kansas, I stopped in one town. It turned out the subway I was stopped at is where several of the church folk hang out after church and get lunch. I was greeted warmly, and had great conversation with a bunch of terrific people. I ended up modifying my route to McCook, because Google maps was trying to take me on some roads that everyone there deemed unridable. That was pretty awesome, because I had just missed the church service that I was trying to make it to. Secondly, I met a man in Holdrege that was absolutely selfless and generous. His mom was somehow friends with my great aunt whom I had spent the previous night with. I ended up staying with him, and getting a nice shower, a bed to sleep in, and all the food I could ever need. This was another one of those crazy God things that is just too crazy to call a coincidence. The last person I met was just today. I arrived at the campground at about seven in the evening. I was getting ready to pay for my camping, but didn’t have a ten. Since the camp office was right there, I figured they would have change for a twenty, so I walked over to ask. The camp manager has overheard me talking about my trip to some other fellow campers. Rather impressed with what I was doing, he offered me free camping, and directed me to the showers and electricity. After I had explored a while, I was stopped again when he came around with his truck. Apparently, there had been a cabin reserved, and then canceled just today. It had been completely paid for, but there was no one in it. He offered me a beautiful view of the lake, with AC, a microwave, refrigerator, couch, and two beds. All for free. This is the only thing allowing me to write this right now. It’s really one of the kindest things someone has done for me while I’ve been traveling. It’s definitely a blessing.
There’s so much more I’d love to write, but I can’t tell you all everything that happens. I’ve gotta make this trip somewhat for me. Lots of stuff happens. Just letting you all know I’m still alive, and doing well. Thanks for the never ending support.
If you’d like to read more from Noah, you can check out his progress on his blog.
If you’d like to support Noah, click here.
Aren’t teenagers awesome?