Student bikes 24 hours for children with disabilities
Published: Thursday, October 11, 2012
Updated: Thursday, October 11, 2012 01:10
Mike Nguyen rode a bike for 24 hours starting Wednesday morning as part of a Pi Kappa Phi fraternity philanthropy event, Pedals for Push.
“It’s something I’ve been wanting to do,” Nguyen, a junior majoring in biomedical sciences, said. “I was just so inspired. It’s for a good cause. I want to help people with disabilities so it’s something that at the end of last year I said I’m going to do.”
Nguyen volunteered to ride the stationary bike after preparing for this event for at least three months, he said, putting in an average of four to six hours a day on the bike for six days a week. During practice, Nguyen would read books for his classes to keep up with schoolwork, but said it was still hard to balance homework and practice.
“School comes first, that’s No. 1, so I finished all my schoolwork Monday,” Nguyen said. “I got in some studying ahead of time so I could prepare for this. I did hand out a courtesy letter with a letterhead so I let (my professors) all know what I’ve been up to.”
Nguyen had support from his fraternity brothers to keep him entertained. They played games, talked to various people and watched parts of Magic Mike during Movies on the Lawn to help pass the time.
Throughout the day, music was being played around the MSC, but Nguyen said he was not really interested in listening to it. Instead, he listened to motivational speakers through his headphones, like Navy SEAL David Goggins, who ran 100 miles in less than 19 hours.
“Music is my worst enemy right now because in my head I’m counting after a song’s over,” Nguyen said. “That means it’s been three minutes, four minutes, so I really don’t want to know the time.”
Next to Nguyen’s stationary bike was a table set up with nutritional bars, mustard packets and liquids to keep his energy up. Every thirty minutes he ate an energy or nutritional bar as well as drank either water, Powerade or Boom energy gel.
He switched between Powerade and mustard packets to give variety besides drinking water. The mustard packets replenished sodium depletion, he said. Swallowing a teaspoon of salt would too, but would only make him thirstier.
“I’ve been drinking water nonstop to the point of hating it,” Nguyen said. “Pedialyte and Powerade replenish electrolytes but Boom energy gel makes me thirsty faster.”
Even when taking bathroom breaks, Nguyen continued to pedal. An extra bike was provided for him to ride to the bathroom and back, so that he wouldn’t have to stop.
“I hate the feeling of quitting,” he said.
The integrity of the cause and the resistance on the bike have helped him keep pedaling instead of just sitting on a bike for 24 hours, Nguyen said.
“Regardless of if I end up spraining something or hurting something,” Nguyen said, “I’m going to
Pedals for Push has turned into a bigger event than when it first started in 2010, with more support and donations coming in. Nguyen said his family was also supportive of his goal to ride for the event, which supports Push America, a nonprofit organization providing service and raising awareness on behalf of people with disabilities.
Ignacio Aparicio, a junior majoring in criminology, said he planned to spend a majority of the 24 hours by Nguyen’s side, supporting him, except for when he attended a class Wednesday evening.
This is Pi Kappa Phi’s third year holding Push for America at USF, and each year a different member has pedaled the stationary bike.
“One of the brothers, Ryan Patrick, did it for the first time in 2010,” Will Coleman, a senior majoring in psychology and Pi Kappa Phi’s Push America chair, said. “He inspired us to do it again.”
During the event, Pi Kappa Phi collected donations from passersby, and You Say When Yogurt donated 20 percent of its profits between 11 a.m. and 11 p.m. Wednesday from customers who were USF students.
In 2011, the fraternity raised approximately $2,000 through the event, and their goal for this year is $2,400. Joining Nguyen for portions of the day were various other riders from other sororities and fraternities to compete against each other. Trophies for first, second, and third place will be given to whoever puts in the most hours and raises the most money.