At six o’clock this morning, thirteen year old Garrett Higney and his father Andrew left their Western Springs home for a day at the old ballpark to watch their beloved Cubbies play the Milwaukee Brewers. Even though the game will be played at the Brewer’s Miller park in Milwaukee, leaving twelve hours before the first pitch may seem a bit early to some.
Higney, an eighth grade student at McClure Jr. High School, and his father will not be driving to the game or taking a luxury tour bus however.
They will be riding their bicycles from Wrigley Field to Miller Park, 100 miles away, as they participate in the 2nd annual Wrigley Road Tour sponsored by World Bicycle Relief and the Chicago Cubs Charities.
“I just decided I wanted to do it,” Higney said. “My dad told me about it and I really didn’t have to think about it. I just say yea, it’ll be cool to tell my kids when I’m my mom’s and dad’s age that when I was thirteen I rode my bike 100 miles to see a ballgame.”
Higney and his father will not be alone on their trip however.
They will be joining more than 650 other bicycle enthusiasts and Cubs fans who will make the trip in a fundraising effort to provide specially designed bicycles to people living in Sub Saharan Africa. These sturdy, specially designed bicycles, which weigh roughly sixty pounds each, will allow recipients access to education, health-care and independence in ways that would be unthinkable without a bicycle.
To date, Higney has pledges totaling $8,100, enough to provide fifty nine bicycles, placing him in third place in contributions among all the participants. With donations being accepted through September 3rd Higney hopes to see that number go up.
“The fundraising Garrett has done has been amazing,” Higney’s mother Sheila said. “Some people donated $10 and one person gave $1,000. And since the cost of each bike is $134, some people gave $134 or $268. People were donating by the bike.”
“I sent e-mails to all my family and friends and people my dad knows,” Higney added. “Everyone has been very generous.”
Higney said he has been riding a bike for as long as he remembers. “Probably since I was two or three,” he said.
“I hate walking,” Higney said, when asked about why he got involved in the effort. “Instead of walking, I’ll take my bike. I felt like if I was in Africa and I didn’t have a bike I would dread waking up every morning and have to walk to school. I have so much in life that I wanted to give back.”
“This event is really a great fit for Garrett,” Higney’s mother added. “He wanted to help and he loves biking and the Cubs. In fact, in 2006 when Garrett was eight years old, he won the Tour of the Tower in Western Springs.”
As Higney and his father found out however, wanting to ride your bike 100 miles to Milwaukee and being able to do so required a lot of time and training.
“We’ve been training six days a week for the past ten weeks,” Higney said. “My dad and I have logged more than 1,000 miles preparing for Saturday.
“Garrett has also been hitting the weights along with our riding,” Higney’s father Andrew said. “We’ve been on several long bike rides as well with the longest being 65 miles to Chicago and along the lakefront.”
Higney is confident all his training will pay off this Saturday and hopes to make the 100-mile trip in seven to eight hours which will put him in Milwaukee at three or four o’clock—in plenty of time to see the Cubs take on the Brewers.
At the game, Higney and his father will be joined by his mother and two of his three younger sisters.
If you would like to help Higney in his efforts please visit his website.
Donations will be accepted through Saturday, September 3rd.