Scotty’s Ride for Water, the cross-country biking initiative focused on providing safe water to thousands of people around the world, has begun. After dipping their bike tires in the Pacific Ocean near the Santa Monica pier, 13-year-old Scotty Parker and his small team took off for the first day’s ride through LA. For six days now, they have been biking through the countryside of central California, putting as many miles between them and the west coast as possible. With 227 miles down, Scotty is on his way to reaching his goal of 3,300 miles.
As the team headed east through the San Gabriel mountain range, they fell under the shadow of a peak that’s as threatening as it is beautiful: Mt. San Antonio. Jutting over 10,000 feet out of the California landscape, it was an intense climb for the team.
Kyle Whitcroft, Water Mission’s Special Events Coordinator, is one of the riders crossing the country this summer. “I’m really proud of the team,” he writes. “Day two, the ride from Azusa to Hesperia, was a tough day. Our team climbed to an elevation of 5,000 feet, pedaling our way on surfaces ranging from paved bike paths to the shoulders of 5-lane interstates. If the steep incline wasn’t enough to test our endurance, the 130° temperature on the blacktop was. Two flat tires later, we were encouraged that what goes up must come down.”
The momentum of a second $100,000 match challenge is helping to propel the team as they stay focused on the reason they are riding. With 60% of his fundraising goal met, Scotty still has another $200,000 to raise in order to hit $500,000. Just because he rides his bike for most of the day doesn’t mean he’s not thinking about ways to raise more funds. All along the route, he is stopping to share the story of what his team is doing. He is adamant that every little bit helps, whether it’s $20, $100, or $100,000. Scotty hopes that people will learn about the 1.8 billion suffering under the global water crisis and their hearts would be stirred to action. His goal is to transform the lives of young kids, just like him, through safe water and sanitation.
“It’s going to be tough,” Scotty admits. “But we’re all excited. The new $100,000 match is keeping us pumped, and it’s been incredible to share what we’re doing with people along the way. We have a long way to go – both in miles and funds – but I believe we can do it. Philippians 4:13 says ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!’”
The problem is urgent and immense – every day people are dying because of contaminated water – but the solution is attainable when we work together. For Scotty, fighting the crisis looks like pedaling a bike 3,300 miles across America. His passion and dedication to improving the lives of others is more than inspiring – it is commanding. It is the message, loud and clear, that what we do with our lives matters, and that when we work together we are capable of great change.