Indiana State University Newsroom

ISU alum, on a cross-country bike ride for disability awareness, makes Terre Haute stop

July 27, 2022

Indiana State University alumnus Neil Jones is on a cross-country cycling trip to raise disability awareness and funds.

Jones, a member of the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity, is among the participants of Journey of Hope, which benefits The Ability Experience, the philanthropic initiative of the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity.

Jones made a stop at Terre Haute on Tuesday with a team of 17 cyclists and six support crew members. They visited Happiness Bag to participate in various activities and enjoy dinner. They arrived in Terre Haute after cycling 110 miles from Vandalia, Illinois greeted by fellow Sycamores.

"I truly believe that the reason I'm here is to ...educate myself and the people around me about something that matters more," Jones said. "I strive to bring positive awareness to anybody I come in contact with. ...My best outlet for that is Journey of Hope. There's no experience that compares to it."

Jones' journey began in Seattle, Washington on June 5. It is a trek of 4,370 miles to Washington, D.C., biking an average of 85 miles daily for a total of 67 days.

This route is special to him not only because it includes a stop at Terre Haute, the home of his alma mater, but also at Cincinnati, Ohio, near his hometown of Lawrenceburg. Along the way, the team spreads the message of disability awareness through local media and makes stops at partner organizations. He is also raising funds along the way.

Jones logged 1,000 miles in training before the event began. The journey has been a test of strength and morale so far. Since it began, he has faced extreme summer heat and physically and mentally challenging terrain. But he is motivated by the reasons why he decided to embark on this trip: to meet, learn from, and show support to people with disabilities; to test his own physical and mental abilities; and to inspire others. He said his favorite part is meeting people at the stops and seeing their faces light up with joy upon recognizing the support he is showing them. Jones said he has learned a lot from the experiences of people he meets.

At the end of the trip, he imagines he will stand on the Capitol lawn feeling proud of what he and his team accomplished and enjoy the moment.

"I want to be able to stand there and know that I put all my possible effort in a positive way the last 67 days," he said. "And I want to feel like I was able to bring forth something special for my team and people across the country."

Jones graduated from ISU in May with a degree in Information Technology and minors in Computer Engineering Technology, and Electrical Engineering Technology.