Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Two USF fraternity brothers ready for cross-country bike ride

TAMPA — The idea of cycling 3,705 miles from Los Angeles to Washington, D.C., might sound like a pipe dream. But for two University of South Florida students, that dream is about to become reality.

On Monday, two members of Pi Kappa Phi's USF chapter will begin the grueling cross country bike ride as part of the philanthropic Journey of Hope. Fraternity brothers Andrew Coet and Samuel Raduns are both required to raise a minimum of $5,500, all of which will go toward supporting people with disabilities or raising awareness on their behalf.

Journey of Hope is an annual event staged by Pi Kappa Phi and Push America, a nonprofit organization the fraternity founded in 1977. Every Journey of Hope participant is a member of a Pi Kappa Phi chapter around the United States, and each participant is required to raise his own funds.

"Both of our riders have gone about it in their own way," USF Pi Kappa Phi chapter president Justin Lengyel said. "Andy did some fundraising through church, they've both sold T-shirts, and as brothers, they can always hit us up for spare change to help out."

"I've gone to some local businesses and networked through my family for donations," Raduns said. "I tell them what we're about, and what the money will be used for. With the economy the way it is some people say no, and I don't take it too hard. I just thank them for their time, and keep moving forward."

This will be Radun's second time riding in the Journey of Hope.

Raduns and Coet will be part of a group of 72 Pi Kappa Phi cyclists.

The group will be split into three teams, each with its own route. The Northern route starts in San Francisco, the TransAmerica route leaves from Seattle, and Raduns' and Coet's Southern route will begin in Los Angeles.

The three teams are scheduled to rendezvous in Washington on Aug. 2.

The cyclists will ride an average of 75 miles a day, with stops along the way to participate in activities that support or reach out to local people with disabilities. Stops could involve anything from wheelchair basketball to puppet shows that teach children life lessons.

After the day's events, volunteer organizations will welcome riders, who will sleep in the basements of churches, in hotels or on gymnasium floors. If beds are unavailable, riders will use an air mattress carried with them.

Both cyclists have trained hard for this event.

"Riders are required to train a minimum of 1,000 miles before the event takes place," Coet said. "It ensures that we can comfortably cycle 40 to 100 miles a day. I've been training for a year and a half so I will be ready for the journey."

A lot can happen on a nationwide cycling adventure, and despite all of the training that the team members go through, accidents happen. To support the cyclists, check points are set up every 5 to 10 miles along the routes, manned by Pi Kappa Phi brothers and alumni. Trained crews will support the cyclists when they're in need.

While Journey of Hope benefits the people with disabilities that Push America and its parent fraternity interact with during the event, it is also an important learning experience for the men of Pi Kappa Phi.

"The true meaning of the trip is working with organizations across the country that serve people with disabilities and connecting with the friends, family and members associated with each organization," said Brent Grunig, USF coordinator of fraternity and sorority life and a former Journey of Hope crew member. "There's no way to prepare, or train for that except to actually do it with your team from the start."

"Helping with this cause has taught me a great deal about empathy and humility," Coet said. "When I was accepted into college I didn't know what I wanted to do following graduation. But working with people with disabilities has become something I'm very passionate about, and want to do for the rest of my life."

Patrick G. Veilleux can be reached at


Contributing to

Journey of Hope

Want to help Andrew Coet and Samuel Raduns meet their fundraising goals? You can contribute at

Two USF fraternity brothers ready for cross-country bike ride 05/29/14 [Last modified: Thursday, May 29, 2014 10:31am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rays are full of ideas they'd like to share when commissioner visits

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Commissioner Rob Manfred is coming to the Trop today. Hmm. Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg will be there to greet him. Hmmmm. And they have a scheduled joint media session. Hmmmmmmmmm.

    Commissioner Rob Manfred isn’t expected to say anything definitive about the Rays’ stadium situation when he visits the team today.
  2. Mayor Rick Kriseman endorsed by another police union


    ST. PETERSBURG — Mayor Rick Kriseman is already backed by the city's largest police union, the Suncoast Police Benevolent Association.

    Mayor Rick Kriseman has secured another police union endorsement
  3. Drinking alcohol on St. Pete beaches now allowed — for hotel guests only

    Local Government

    ST. PETE BEACH — Guests at gulffront hotels here can now drink alcoholic beverages in permitted hotel beach cabana areas.

    Guests at the Don CeSar Hotel relax Tuesday on St. Pete Beach. That night, the City Commission unanimously passed an ordinance to allow hotel guests to drink alcohol in permitted beach areas.
  4. Man found floating in 'Cotee River in New Port Richey

    Public Safety

    NEW PORT RICHEY — A body was found floating in the Pithlachascotee River on Tuesday morning, police said.

  5. More than 13,000 fact-checks later, PolitiFact celebrates 10-year mark


    ST. PETERSBURG — Bill Adair still remembers the moment when he realized his idea to fact-check politicians could turn into something big.

    From left, Aaron Sharockman, PolitiFact executive director, introduces a panel featuring Angie Holan, PolitiFact editor; PolitiFact founder Bill Adair; and Neil Brown, Tampa Bay Times editor and vice president, at the Poynter Institute on Tuesday.