Area couple’s cross-country bike trek to benefit LifeCycles

By on June 26, 2019

Erin Steinweg and her fiancé Garrett Collins will set out for a cross-country bicycle ride August 6. Their self-funded cross-country adventure will benefit Lancaster non-profit LifeCycles.

“I’ve been cycling my entire life, but in the last three years I began doing endurance events such as triathlons. In the past year I added competitive biking,” said Steinweg. She also competed in the Boston Marathon last year.

The 2015 Manheim Central graduate holds a degree in biopsychology from Messiah College and an EMT/paramedic certification from Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences. Collins holds a doctorate of physical therapy and a bachelor’s degree in health services/allied health/health sciences from Lebanon Valley College. The two met at the Lititz Triathlon in 2016.

Steinweg said while this will be her first cross-country ride, Collins did an east-to-west cross country ride about four years ago. They did a ride together three years ago from Lancaster to Bar Harbor, ME. “I’m excited for the cross-country ride. We’re planning to cover about 4,200 miles and have given ourselves 60-days to do it,” she explained.

They’ll start their cross-country trek in Eugene, OR and then head to Florence, OR, on the Pacific coast where they’ll dip the wheels of their bikes into the ocean. They’ll head east, finishing the journey in Yorktown, Va. They’ll carry their own supplies including tents. Steinweg said they’ll be use a route from Adventure Cycling Association and hope to cover 80- to 100-miles per day. “It’s a trans-America route that a lot of bicyclists take,” she explained, “We used one of their route on our Bar Harbor ride. There are paper maps, as well as digital maps and information I can use on my phone.”

Erin Steinweg (left) and her fiancé Garrett Collins will set out for a cross-country bicycle ride August 6. Their self-funded cross-country adventure will benefit Lancaster non-profit LifeCycles.

Information includes places to dine in cities they’ll travel through as well as information on local bike shops. “We’re hoping for good weather, but if it’s raining lightly we’ll ride. If there are heavy downpours or thunderstorms, we’ll stay in place,” Steinweg said.

The route takes them near Yellowstone National Park, and the couple is planning to stop there to explore and hike.

“We feel so blessed to have this opportunity. During our planning phase we decided we wanted to bring glory to God through the trip. Soon after that discussion we came across LifeCycles, a mentoring program that uses bicycle touring help instill spiritual and emotional growth in teenagers. Their mission fits so well with what we want to do: to be part of something bigger than ourselves,” Steinweg explained.

LifeCycles was founded in late 2014 by retired Air Force Col. Lee DeRemer, who holds a Ph.D. in values-driven leadership from the Center for Values-Driven Leadership at Benedictine University.

He has taught leadership to military officers, government officials, international fellows, and undergraduate students. He’s also led Boy Scout, youth, and men’s ministries, and he is an experienced bicycle tour guide.

“The goal of LifeCycles is to mentor 12 to 15-year-olds and build young men (and women) of character through a Christ-centered bicycling experience,” he explained. It also promotes healthy habits and exercise.

Initially the organization focused on mentoring boys, and DeRemer said since its inception LifeCycles has reached about 140 boys. This year there are teams located in Landisville, Marietta, New Holland and Lititz. The Lititz team, which is new this year, is a girls team, while the other three are boys teams. The 80 teens are led by a group of 70 volunteers.

DeRemer said all activities are free so there is “no entry barrier”. This includes a quality 24-gear bicycle, helmet, shirt, water bottles and safety tights. There’s also a free hot meal at two of the four locations. He said teens in the various teams are grouped by riding skills.

“We meet them where they’re at; we focus on what they’re doing right, rather than what they’re doing wrong. We have had some teens who are interested in the program who don’t have any experience riding a bicycle, so we teach them,” he stressed.

He said the teams meet once a week and may do some special weekend rides. Next summer LifeCycles is planning a cross-country tour for a small group of teens.
That tour also touched a chord with Steinweg and Collins. “With our tour we hope we can be an inspiration to the teens and show them that anyone can do it,” Steinweg said.

DeRemer said both Steinweg and Collins have been on bike rides with the LifeCycles teens.

“Erin and Garrett are superheroes who found us,” DeRemer said, “What a great gift they’ve been; they’ve inspired the kids by what they’re doing.”

During their cross-country bike ride, Steinweg and Collins will plan to post updates on social median including the GoFundMe page they’ve established to raise funds for LifeCycles. DeRemer said

LifeCycles teens and volunteers will definitely follow the couple’s social media posts.

For more information on Steinweg and Collins’ bicycle fundraiser visit gofundme.com/coast-to-coast-campaign-for-lifecycles.

Rochelle Shenk is a correspondent for the Lititz Record Express. She welcomes your comments and questions at RAASHENK@aol.com. 

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