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After Deadline: Bicyclists spread the message of peace

Dave Jone, of Phoenix, left, and Michael Himlie, of Harmony, stand in front of the Biking for Peace van that accompanied them as they rode 50 miles each in 40 states on consecutive days. They were trying to raise awareness of peacemaking.

HARMONY — Michael Himlie, of Rushford, rode about 50 miles on the Root River and Harmony-Preston Valley state trails with several friends Wednesday, ending a 40-day cross-country biking journey aimed at spreading the message of peacemaking.

Himlie said Wednesday that he and Dave Jones, of Phoenix, met 1.5 years ago on a trip to Palestine for Christian Peacemaker Teams . Both love to bike and got to talking about biking for peace. They decided to ride 50 miles in all 50 states over 50 days, beginning May 14 in Hawaii and flying to California after that. They have had a crew go along with them to shuttle them to the next state. The plan was to end in Alaska.

But Jones' father's health is deteriorating, so they called it quits after 40 days, Himlie said.

"It would have been great to finish, but family health comes first," said Himlie, who will be a senior at Manchester University in North Manchester, Ind., next fall.

They did get several speaking engagements along the way and have raised about $10,000 so far for the peacemaking group, he said.


After what they saw in Palestine, there were no bad days on bikes, Jones said.

"Any challenges we have pale in comparison to what others have to endure in the world in terms of oppression and violence," he said.

After finishing college, Himlie said he eventually wants to attend University of Notre Dame's Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies. But before that, he's thinking of riding from Chicago to Colombia, South America, he said.

— John Weiss

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