“Cycling is great individually–it’s even more fun as a group! Come out and join us.”
Terry Rogers is more than just a cyclist in Cycle for STEM, he’s one of the co-founders along with his good friend Sean McGowan. So it’s no surprise that Terry is participating in July’s event, though his motivations are far from self-serving. Terry emphasizes that first and foremost, this event is about supporting education, specifically science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education. The ride serves as a platform to raise awareness of and funds for STEM initiatives; the money goes to deserving students and teachers through scholarships and grants from the AFCEA Educational Foundation. Cycle for STEM is the signature fundraiser for the foundation, which needs the support to continue to hand out awards. Corporate sponsors and individual donors help make this possible when they give to Cycle for STEM.
And while Terry is undoubtedly a passionate and dedicated man, he’s always interested in having as much fun as possible. So he rides in part because he says, “It’s a great time!” The trip is beautiful with gorgeous trails through unique and interesting towns. “Additionally, it’s a fantastic way to challenge yourself—and the feeling of accomplishment when complete is amazing,” he explains. But more than anything, it’s the people who make the difference. Terry made new friends during Cycle for STEM 2013, and he also got to know his former friends and people he’d work with for years much better. “I’m looking forward to that same experience again in 2014,” Terry says.
What did he enjoy most about last year? Just about everything! “The best parts were the feeling of accomplishment of taking the event from inception to execution in just three months and seeing what a success it became, even exceeding the fundraising goal,” Terry explains. “And, the camaraderie during the week with the support team and the fellow riders. Unlike most of the riders, I actually loved (for the most part) the weather challenges we faced. It made the event even more powerful–it would have been easy to give up on either of the two days of record-setting rainfall. But we plowed through it because we believed in what we were doing. That makes for a great story, for great memories and shows how meaningful the cause is. To be out there riding for 50+ miles in mud so deep and thick that it had to be hosed off the riders in a high-pressure carwash shows the dedication and belief of the team. Also, I might be the only person who actually enjoyed riding through that slop–it was just sheer fun to be riding in conditions that were better suited for fish than for bicycles.”
This year, Terry is most looking forward to more folks participating. “The size of the team in 2013 was perfect for the first time doing it–we were able to see what worked and didn’t work, and we’re using those lessons to make Cycle For STEM 2014 even better,” he explains. Now, the team needs the event to grow in size. Last year was powerful with 14 people executing the seven-day ride. Just think of the power if that group were multiplied two, three or even four times!
To prepare for 2014, Terry bought a new bike. “And I’m going to ride the heck out of it!” Terry exclaims. He’s getting out quite a bit despite the weather challenges in the D.C. area, but plans to step it up. His goal is to average 150 or more miles each week between March and June.
So, are you still sitting on the fence about joining in this fantastic event? “Anybody can do this ride,” Terry encourages. “We had cyclists of all skill, experience and fitness levels in 2013. It takes some training and a lot of motivation, but the feeling of accomplishment for contributing to a great cause and the personal satisfaction makes it well worth it.”
If you feel you don’t have the time to train, one option might be commuting by bike if you have a safe route. Terry’s daily commute is 30 miles roundtrip. With D.C. traffic, the bike takes little longer than the car. About 60 percent of the miles Terry put into training last year were commuter miles and he expects that to increase for 2014. If you live in the D.C. area, the team does regular weekend rides. You can follow us on Facebook and Twitter to learn where and when.
As you’ve already learned, Terry is an enthusiastic man with a penchant for big plans. He wants to see Cycle for STEM expand to an around-the-world event, saying “2014 is the first step on that journey. Thanks to everyone who has and will support Cycle for STEM.”
Come make friends with Terry and all of the Cycle for STEM team. You can learn more about joining on our website. Also, come check out our Facebook page to participate in our fun and see the personalities of our core team. You can email email@example.com to request specific information. And follow us on Twitter via @cycleforstem. Your interaction in social media is important to us and we’d love to hear from you. Hashtag on all social media is #c4stem.