SPOKANE, Wash. and HELENA, Mont., Aug. 8, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — This summer, five cyclists turned their backs to the Pacific and began an epic 3-month, 5,000 mile, off-road bike ride to honor high school students across the country whose route to a diploma is more challenging than the norm. The riders avoid pavement whenever possible on their journey from Seattle through Denver, to Boston.

«Many people have ridden their bikes across the country,» says REAL Ride founder Cris Rothfuss. «What makes this unique is how and why we are doing it.»

Each leg of the REAL Ride is dedicated to a local school that helps off-track students rediscover education.

«The challenges our students face in their personal lives are often heavy.  We strive to provide flexible scheduling, small class sizes and social-emotional services to serve as a springboard…and we’re grateful the REAL Ride is bringing awareness to their unique pathways to success,» says Haley Todd, Assistant Principal at Emily Griffith High School in Denver.

Each rider is carrying handwritten aspirations from the students.  

Rider Perri Mertens has dedicated her first 500 miles to Sierra Carpenter, who wrote, «I am BEAUTIFUL, BLESSED, BRAVE, RESILIANT, STRONG, POWERFUL AND MY DREAMS ARE REAL.»

«I’m riding for Sierra because her words encompass everything I believe in,» Perri said.

All the riders have put their professional and personal lives on hold to ride from Seattle to Boston, live in a tent, and eat a lot of Cliff Bars. The REAL Ride is an extreme event at full-volume and it is going to be tough for all five to make it home.

Learn more – follow their progress:
www.therealride.org

Local Information:
REAL TIME TRACKER: http://therealride.org/ride-tracker/ 
INSTAGRAM: @theREALRide

The Team:
Cris Rothfuss, ED, Harvard’s Institute for Quantitative Social Science 
Erin Abrahams, veterinarian at MSPCA
Dan St. Croix, visual display artist 
Perri Mertens, digital marketing manager
Jay Vasconcellos, owner of Solstice Skateboard

The Schools:
Interagency Academy, Seattle, WA
Emily Griffith High School, Denver, CO
Milford Success Academy, Cincinnati, OH
CB Community School, Philadelphia, PA
Boston Day and Evening Academy, Boston, MA

Additional Photos & Interviews Available

 (PRNewsfoto/The REAL Ride)

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SOURCE The REAL Ride