Don Hagan planned to cycle his way across America. The Edgewood Presbyterian Church (Birmingham) member left San Diego on March 5 with a plan to ride his bicycle across the country in 52 days, reaching St. Augustine on April 26. He started with the traditional dip of the bike’s rear tire in the Pacific Ocean before heading east.
Don believed he was answering Christ’s call to mission by raising money for the Presbyterian Home for Children. A few days before he left, Don visited Ascension Leadership Academy and met with children from the Home and the school, telling them about his trip and answering their questions.
They asked about eating while riding (“it’s safer if you stop, but drinking to stay hydrated is important”), getting lost (“he’s riding with a group, but also has a GPS-like device programmed with his route”), and staying safe while he’s riding (“he wears a rear-view mirror on his helmet that helps.)”
The total trip was to be 3160 miles – 1,000 of them crossing Texas – and then taking a southern route that would cross Arizona, New Mexico, Louisiana, and parts of Mississippi and Alabama before reaching Florida.
Along the way, they would cross the Continental Divide. They had a total of 8 days rest planned throughout the trip. The group also planned on doing mission work at planned stops along the way.
Don told the children at Ascension that he was looking forward to the adventure of the trip. “If I had been born 200 years ago,” he told the students, “I would be with Lewis and Clark. If I’d been born 200 years from now, I’d be on a starship!”
Throughout the trip, Don planned to pray for the students from the Presbyterian Home and Ascension Leadership Academy. He carried a laminated group photo and a list of the students’ names in his backpack, so they could travel every mile of the trip with him.
Over the past few months prior to his ride, Don suggested people donate a penny per mile ($30), or more or less as they wish and are able, through the Home’s website, the Coast2Coast Challenge Facebook page or through the Edgewood Presbyterian Church webpage. There’s still time to support him.
As the trip neared its end, the cyclists would cross into Alabama and roll their bicycles aboard a ferry at Fort Gaines’s Historic Site on Dauphin Island, and cross Mobile Bay to Ft. Morgan before pedaling to a campsite in Gulf Shores. From there, they would cross into Florida then on to St. Augustine, where they would dip their bike tires in the waters of the Atlantic Ocean more than 3,000 miles from where they began. As with many things, during the spring of 2020, COVID-19 interrupted Don’s plan. He had to stop his quest just beyond El Paso and come home to Alabama by car. After returning to Alabama, as often as possible, Don continues to ride his bike across the counties of Alabama. He plans to ride as often as possible until he bikes the number of miles the original trip would have taken. All of the miles thinking and praying for the children of Ascension and the Presbyterian Home.