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Cross country cyclists make stop in Omaha for good cause

Posted at 6:49 PM, Jul 11, 2019

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Some might consider biking across America a little crazy but for one group, it’s in an effort to make a difference in the lives of those who are physically unable to do so.

Today we spoke with a few cyclists who stopped in Omaha and say despite feeling tired, they keep going...all because of the outcome. They started their journey in San Francisco, about 2,000 miles ago, and now they're past the halfway point here in Omaha.

While the ride has been great exercise, Derek Lahey and the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity are doing it for a different reason.

Pi Kappa Phi Cyclist Derek Lahey says, “We have the ability to do that...there’s nothing really nothing stopping me from getting on my bike. I have full mobility of my body and we do it for the people that don’t.”

One of those people they’re riding for is Nebraska Spina Bifida President Nia Karmann who’s in a wheelchair due to spina bifida, a condition that damages the spine and can cause disabilities.

Karmann says, “You always just have to focus on the things you can do instead of the things you can’t do.”

One thing Karmann wanted to do was show support for those who are on this journey.

“These men have dedicated their entire summer to taking this bicycle ride and do this journey to raise awareness,” she says.

Raising awareness is key but the fraternity is also spending their time interacting with those who have the condition.

“It’s really cool to see the interaction between the guys and our members and that they learn from each other,” Karmann says.

Pi Kappa Phi Cyclist Justas Klimavicius says, “Fatigue is a given when averaging 75 miles a day but we make sure to stay hydrated, we eat lots of good food...we get treated very well in many cities.”

But who they’re helping is why they keep pedaling on...until they finish up on the east coast.

“There’s a lot of people out there who would do anything to hop on that bike and to ride across the country so for us to do it in their name and for their honor is what really means a lot,” says Lahey.