UT Austin Students Bike Thousands of Miles to Raise Money for Cancer Research

It’s the longest annual charity bike ride in the world.

They say everything is bigger in Texas and that goes double for the Lone Star state's fundraisers. The annual Texas 4000 is the longest annual charity bike ride in the world.

This year's ride kicked off on June 4th, when a group of 85 students set out from the Austin campus of the University of Texas for a 70-day, 4,000-mile bike ride across the U.S. That's a distance that's twice as long as the Tour De France!

Texas 4000 finish line
Texas 4000 for Cancer

Since 2004, more than 980 students have completed the long-haul ride, raising awareness, hope and funds. So far, they've raised more than $12 million for cancer research, while biking 5.3 million miles.

This year riders could choose one of four routes for their fundraising journeys, biking through the Sierras, the Rockies, the Ozarks, or the Smoky Mountains. Normally the riders will bike all the way from Austin to Alaska, but with the Canadian border closed to American travelers due to the pandemic, this year each of the four routes starts and ends in Austin.

"All of us at Texas 4000 for Cancer realize the importance of our cancer awareness and prevention message having seen the significant drops in cancer preventive checks since the start of the global pandemic. The 2021 team knows that cancer hasn't stopped and that spreading our cancer fighting message is needed more now than ever," said Scott Crews, Texas 4000 Executive Director in a press release.

Even with sticking to the lower 48 states, it's a long, grueling trek. "Being on the road for 70 days is pretty hard," Kirsten Hahn, a recent UT Austin grad taking part in the ride told WFAA. "I think it doesn't sound like a lot when you first start, but then you're like 'Oohh, I got myself into this.'"

During the long ride, the participants not only get in a great deal of fresh and exercise, but they collect donations and stories about the impact of cancer on their lives or on the lives of those they love.

After the long, life-changing journey, the teams arrived at the finish line in Austin last Friday. Who wants to join in on next year's ride?

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