Local Resident Completes Transcontinental Bicycle Ride; Raises $ for LGBTQ+ Suicide Awareness
ANDREW MORTENSEN COMPLETES TRANSCONTINENTAL BICYCLE RIDE
Furloughed airline employee raises more than $5,000 for LGBTQ+ youth suicide
LAKE BLUFF, IL, OCTOBER 13 - After just 44 days, Andrew Mortensen, 29, arrived in Yorktown, VA, successfully crossing the country by bicycle, raising more than $5,000 (to date) for LGBTQ+ suicide awareness.
Mortensen joined The Trevor Project's volunteer team in January 2020. Aware of the challenges of coming out after his own journey, he desired to give back as a counselor supporting LGBTQ+ youth.
Mortensen completed training for e-counseling and crisis intervention by February of 2020 and soon after began regular volunteer shifts with The Trevor Project's TrevorChat team.
Just weeks later, the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic rippled through the economy. Mortensen was one of thousands of Americans unexpectedly furloughed from a career in the airline industry. With many hours of new time on his hands and marathon races postponed, Mortensen began supplementing his amateur distance running with bicycling, exploring the extensive Chicagoland trail network on increasingly longer rides. By early August, he'd outfitted his bike with camping equipment and set out for overnight trips across the Montana and Utah mountains.
Tackling some of the most challenging climbs in the country, he returned home with a new confidence to dream bigger: he would ride across America in support of LGBTQ+ youth suicide awareness.
"I realized I had the tools - free time, a warm weather window, a bike, some fitness, and an ambitious goal - to uniquely support a mission I'm passionate about. It easily became 'Why can't I?' instead of 'Why should I?'"
After a month of further planning and training, Mortensen set off with a determination as big as his dream, kicking off his ride in Neah Bay, WA with sights set on the Victory Monument in Yorktown, VA, 4,400 miles east.
On October 7th, after cycling 100 miles a day for 44 days, he landed in Yorktown with more than $5,000 in donations (to date). Rather than return home, he made a right turn south.
Outfitted in his new, orange Trevor Project tee, he's headed along the Atlantic Coast to the Florida Keys continuing on his mission to raise funds and awareness for LGBTQ+ suicide.
"I'm so grateful for the overwhelming support and encouragement. If pedaling just a little more changes one mind around suicide, this whole ride will have been worth it."
Further information is available below:
Donation & fundraising:
Andrew's journey on Instagram:
Daily recap and ride photos: