Middle schooler returns after riding 250 miles in first bike ride

Updated: Sunday, June 29 2014, 08:04 PM EDT
Middle schooler returns after riding 250 miles in first bike ride story image
KALAMAZOO, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - A group of middle schoolers from a Kalamazoo church hit the open road earlier this week.

Sunday, those kids returned home from their 250-mile bike ride. It was especially satisfying for one 14-year-old, who never really rode a bike before.

Two Hundred fifty miles and a warm welcome home for nearly 50 sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders from Southridge Reformed Church in Kalamazoo.

Two Hundred fifty miles that 14-year old Chris Brandt never thought could be possible and not because the group had to fight through all sorts of obstacles on the five-day bike ride to Muskegon and back.

"Lots of injuries, lots of flat tires, but we still made it through," Brandt says.

It's unbelievable to think this trip was Chris' first official bike ride. He's battling a form of cerebral palsy that doesn't give him enough muscle strength to pedal on his own.

Photos from the trip show Chris hard at work and those who rode with him say he stepped up to the challenge.

Rider Michael Northuis says, "Whenever we asked him to, we'd say, 'Hey, Chris, it's time to push.' And he would pedal very hard, get us over the crest and that was important part, was getting us over and we can relax again."

Watermark, a parent company of the Fountains at Bronson Place, has a charity to help local kids achieve goals they never knew were possible, giving Chris a special tandem bike, too expensive for his family to buy on their own.

His father, Gary Brandt, is proud of all the riders. "They are just sixth-, seventh-, eighth-grade boys and girls. To ride that far, 50 miles every day, I don't know too many adults who can do that, so I'm very impressed," he says.

It's cliche to say it was a trip of a lifetime, but for these middle schoolers and especially Chris, it fits.

"I couldn't believe I was actually being able to do this," he says. "I've never been able to ride a bike until now, so it's extremely fun and I'm feeling accomplished."Middle schooler returns after riding 250 miles in first bike ride
comments powered by Disqus

Top Stories