"My name is Dane Randall. I'm 23 years old from Sylva, North Carolina. On April 30th, 2009 I set out from Yorktown, Virginia on a 4,300 mile bicycle ride across the United States in support of Mercy Corps. The trip has been a culmination of training, planning, and fund-raising for over half a year. The ride was set to begin April 30th out of Yorktown and I will end the trip sometime in August in Astoria Oregon.
When I began to plan my trans-America bicycle tour I had only one person in mind, me. The trip was to be a personal journey where I would have the chance to discover myself, my country, the capabilities of my body, and hopefully experience some form of enlightenment. However, there was one training ride where I decided to make this journey to support a cause and not just do it for myself. For a large portion of my life almost every choice or action has been for me and nobody else. I then started to think about what kind of legacy would I leave or if I had left this world a better place than which I found it. That is when I started to think about how I could help others and still have the ride of my life.
I wanted to find a charity that best portrayed my morals and values. It did not take long before I came across Mercy Corps. There were many charities to choose from but this one spoke out to me a little more than the others. Something I admire and value the most is sustainability. Mercy Corps does not only offer short term support but provide the opportunity for communities around the world to be self sustainable. They allow the people to directly control the outcome of their lives and community. Like they say, it is their energy, ideas, and potential. I believe that by giving people the opportunity to directly see cause and effect builds courage, hope, and awareness. If we wish to change the world we must first start with ourselves and our community. This is probably the biggest reason why I chose Mercy Corps. Furthermore, Mercy Corps does not focus on one particular cause. They realize that people around the world struggle with numerous problems ranging from agriculture to water and sanitation. Everything about it the charity really appealed to me so I created a website and started fund-raising to support Mercy Corps and what they do.
I am currently out on the road in a small town called Berea, Kentucky. I have rode over 700 miles on the bicycle and still going strong. It has been quite an experience, even overwhelming at times. The generosity that has been given to me across the two states of Virginia and Kentucky have been absolutely amazing. People are more than willing to help out a total stranger, even go out of their way a lot of times. whether they supply a cold glass of water to a hot shower they are happy to do it. Most of the time people think I'm crazy though. Many times I will walk into a restaurant and before I can make it to the counter to pay someone tells me it is already paid for. I never knew that there was so much kindness and generosity in Americans today. There is still 8 more states to bicycle across and more than 3,500 miles to cover and I cannot wait to see what else lies ahead. You can read all my stories from the road, see where I am from day to day, and sponsor me as I ride across the U.S.A all on my website at www.bikopelli.com".