Four young men with no biking experience or formal training are attempting to bike 3,200 miles in 50 days to raise money to fight human trafficking. Tanner Ming (20), Andre Palare (20), Anthony Kucich (21) and Garrett Ming (21) started their Ride for Freedom in Florence, Oregon on June 16, and they will arrive in New York City in early August, completing a grueling coast-to-coast journey.
The Ride for Freedom bike team is biking 80-110 miles a day, with only what they can carry on their backs. In a complete step of faith, the bikers will be searching for a new place to stay every night, whether it be donated hotel rooms, private homes, church pews or a tent on the side of the road.
Before launching their cross-country trek, none of the team members had ridden more than 10 miles at a time. Plans to train in advance were thwarted by financial woes, which found the team unable to purchase the bikes until just one week before they left Oregon.
The team has already overcome extreme conditions and complications. They’ve been badly sunburned, tortured by mosquitos (up to 60 bites each), and they endured a 20-mile ride through a brutal rainstorm. In early July, the team found themselves in the middle of nowhere on a 50-mile stretch without water and battling heat exhaustion.
On many nights, they’ve been forced to camp on the side of the road in tents they carry on their backs. Earlier this month, Garrett was forced to drop out of the ride due to exhaustion, and he will be replaced by Justin Rodriguez (21) on July 14th.
The International Labor Organization estimated that there were 20.9 million people trafficked for forced labor in 2012, and 4.5 million of those were victims of forced sexual exploitation. Ride For Freedom wants to end this crisis.
Donations to Ride for Freedom can be made HERE. All funds raised will go directly to Agape International Missions (AIM), with the goal of stopping the cycle of exploitation by preventing trafficking and rescuing, restoring and reintegrating survivors. For every thousand dollars raised by Ride for Freedom, AIM is able to send in a physical rescue team to a brothel in order to rescue one woman and place her in an ongoing rehabilitation process.
The Ride for Freedom bike team came together through their church, Higher Vision, a multigenerational congregation located in the northern Los Angeles area.
For more information or to support the Ride for Freedom, visit https://www.rideforfreedom.co/.