On August 1, Skyler Myers, Rockhurst University graduate student, will begin a nine-day solo bicycle ride to the Continental Divide to secure donations of new library books for the Kansas City, Missouri School District (KCMSD).
Myers will depart State Line Road and 39th Street at 9:25 a.m. to begin his ride along a route that will cover approximately 800 miles across Kansas and Colorado as it climbs nearly 9,000 feet in elevation to the Continental Divide at Cameron Pass in northern Colorado. He will end up at the top of Poudre Canyon (pronounced “Pooder” by locals) 60 miles west of Fort Collins.
Every $20 raised will purchase one new library book for the school district's 18,000 students. American Library Association award-winning titles and books in Spanish will be purchased for the District’s 54 schools.Myers,preparing for a profession in urban education, describes his rationale:
“It’s no surprise that kids who read regularly and are physically active perform better academically. As a future teacher myself, I want to set the kind of positive example that was set for me by teachers I admired. This ride provides a way to draw attention to reading and exercise in a way that will result in more school library books for kids to read.”
Myers himself has always been inspired by biographies, especially that of Magic Johnson. “The work ethic of the communities that make up the Kansas City, Missouri School District has always amazed me,” he says. “I live near the District, know the children and families, and hope to teach here someday.”
Myers will be sharing the story of the District with many. He has attended grades 1-6 in Ft. Collins, and interned at a radio station not far from the town. This is his second bicycle trip to Colorado. Inspired by the book “The Last Cattle Drive” by Robert Day, he decided to make the journey from Lawrence, Kan., to Fort Collins last year.
The Kansas City Missouri, School District has enthusiastically embraced Myers's vision. “The Hands of Hope project rallied the community around our schools and this is a perfect extension of the mission to prepare environments conducive to learning,” stated Superintendent Dr. John Covington. “Grounds and classrooms are ready thanks to thousands of volunteers. Now we hope to stock libraries with books. Skyler is giving of himself to this community and we thank him for it.”
Radio stations and television networks between here and Colorado have already lined up interview time with the adventurous cyclist. Myers will be contacting local newspapers along the way, and friends, as well as community members, can keep up with the adventure on twitter bicyclist4books or facebook. To make a donation to the book drive, visit www.childrensplusinc.com and click on the icon titled “Up 9,000 ft., across 800 miles, for 9,800 books.”
Join Skyler and friends at 39th and State Line at 8:35 a.m. for a preparatory celebration and overview of his route. The Bike-off for “Pooder Pass” is at 9:25 a.m. and Skyler returns on August 11. Watch for the welcome home gala at 4 p.m. on Friday Aug. 14 at Harpers on the Vine, 1601 E. 18th St., Kansas City.