“All the Way to Chicago,” Friend, Apr. 2011, 28–29
Coleson pedaled his bicycle and stared at the hill in front of him. He saw his parents, his older brother and sister, and his cousin ahead of him. Coleson’s family was on a cross-country bicycle trip. Grandma drove the van in front of them in case they needed help. Halle, Coleson’s five-year-old sister, rode in the van with Grandma.
Halle had been born with a rare bone disorder. When Halle was a baby, their family moved from Idaho to Chicago so Halle could get the treatment she needed at a special hospital.
Even though they were now living in Idaho again, they wanted to do something special for the hospital in Chicago. They decided to gather donations for the hospital by biking from Idaho to Chicago. The trip would take five weeks. They were now 10 days into the trip, biking through Wyoming.
Coleson took a drink from his water bottle. He looked at the road that rose in front of him. “I will make it up this hill,” he told himself.
Coleson pedaled hard. The muscles in his legs ached. He knew he could ride in the van if he needed to, but he wanted to bike the whole way. He managed to make it up and down the next three hills. After that, it was time for lunch.
“We’ve already ridden more than 50 miles today,” Dad said.
Coleson sighed with relief. They usually rode about 60 miles a day.
“But I think we should keep riding,” Dad said. “If we get ahead, we can take a day off for sightseeing.”
Everyone nodded in agreement. Coleson nodded too, even though he didn’t know if he could ride much more today.
After lunch, Coleson and his family got back on their bikes. Coleson’s legs were stiff and sore, but he rode anyway. As he topped the first hill, he relaxed a little and started coasting. But when he looked up ahead, he groaned.
There were miles and miles of big, rolling hills. He would have to pedal up every single one. Every part of his body wanted to quit. Biking to Chicago didn’t feel like fun anymore. Maybe he should just get in the van.
Then he remembered other goals he had—to go to the temple and to go on a mission. Did he want to stop short of these goals? Coleson knew he wanted to go the whole way.
He kept pumping his legs and thought about all the things his family had been through together. The pedaling didn’t get any easier, but Coleson stopped thinking about quitting. Instead, he thought about how much he wanted to keep biking.
When they finally stopped for the day, Grandma picked them up to drive them to the hotel. Dad put his arm around Coleson and gave him a big hug.
“I’m proud of you,” Dad said. “Today was a rough day, and you made it.”
“Yep,” Coleson said. “And I’m going to make it all the way to Chicago.”
Coleson did bike all the way to Chicago with his family. When they approached the hospital on their bikes, Coleson saw children lined up outside. He realized they were patients who had been waiting for his family to arrive. The children cheered and waved, welcoming the bike-riding family from Idaho.
Coleson was glad he had endured to the end of the trip. It was a fantastic journey.