This week, a group of strangers donned helmets and hopped on their bikes, setting off on a six-day journey from Seattle to Portland. The cyclists are participating in the IJM Freedom Tour through Venture Expeditions, and they are seeking to raise funds and awareness by cycling the 500 miles.
“Many people who know about IJM want to get involved, yet by doing something,” shares Jessica Abt, Venture Expeditions Tour Director. “People who join the tour are not necessarily cyclists, but they find it a good way to get involved in a cause they care about.”
This year marks the fourth year of the IJM Freedom Tour hosted by Venture Expeditions, with participants raising $20,000 to $30,000 in previous years. Eleven individuals are making the ride, with a range of ages, backgrounds and occupations, coming from all over the United States and two cyclists coming from Canada.
“It’s really incredible how quickly people can come together to have community because there is really nothing to do when you’re on your bike besides talk to other people,” says Jessica. “You can’t be distracted by a phone. You can’t be distracted by the things you have to do. Every morning you wake up and think, all I have to do today is get on my bike and ride.’”
The group met together for training on July 24 and will finish the trek in Portland on August 2. Along the way, they will connect with churches and communities to shed light on modern-day slavery.
“The ride is along beautiful scenery and challenging terrain. It’s with an incredible group of people who really care about supporting IJM’s cause,” adds Jessica.
Venture Expeditions is an organization that uses adventure to raise funds and awareness for humanitarian initiatives around the world, including IJM. And participants have the chance to grow in community while doing so.
According to Jessica, Venture Expeditions originated 12 years ago when three North Central University students decided to ride their bikes across the country, agreeing they should do it to raise money for a good social justice cause.
“They didn’t have bikes, and they didn’t know anything about cycling,” she laughs. “Then right before starting out, they got a flat tire. They were ready to give up, when they received a call that someone just donated $10,000 to the cause. Then they realized they really had to do it!” The three biked across the country from Seattle to New York, marking the first trip of many that Venture Expeditions now hosts.
“Anyone can do it,” Jessica encourages. “Whether or not you have little riding experience or even a bike, if you care about the cause, you can do it. And it will be one of the greatest adventures you will ever have.”
Join the IJM Freedom Tour team in ending slavery and sending urgent rescue. Become a Freedom Partner today.
International Justice Mission is the world’s largest international anti-slavery organization, working to end modern-day slavery, human trafficking and other forms of violence against the poor by rescuing and restoring victims, restraining perpetrators, and transforming broken public justice systems. Learn more at www.ijm.org.