Ride of a lifetime

Stephanie Marshall and Jim Savage

Photo By Meredith J. Cooper

Stephanie Marshall and her boyfriend, Jim Savage, are taking their enthusiasm for bicycling to a new level, and for a good cause. Marshall, 23, is a Chico native and student at Chico State. She’s been doing bike triathlons for the past 3 1/2 years. Savage, 25, is originally from Arcadia and moved to Chico in the fall of ‘04. He’s been cycling with Marshall for the past two years. Last summer Marshall spent three weeks in Uganda with the Uganda Orphan Fund, providing clothes, medical supplies and books to needy children. She was in charge of photographing the children and hanging the photos in their homes—a great joy for children who have never had their picture taken. After such an incredible experience, she and her boyfriend decided to do more. They will depart from Chico, by bike, June 7 and head to Montana (the location of the Uganda Orphan Fund office) and then to Chicago to raise money for the kids.

What did you see in Uganda that made you want to do more?

Marshall: During my three-week trip we visited eight orphan homes, and seeing the poverty-stricken kids with such big smiles touched me. I felt like God showed me what I’m supposed to be doing.

What made you decide on cycling to raise money?

Savage: I originally suggested that we go to Nashville this summer for the Red Bull Flugtag competition, and I wanted to bike back across the country. Stephanie came up with the idea to do it for charity.

Marshall: The opportunity to contribute seemed beneficial to both us and the kids. Since we can’t be there [Uganda] till we finish school, this way we can help out in the meantime.

Savage: Yeah, in the end we decided to skip the Red Bull event entirely and focus on this issue.

What will your trip entail?

Savage: We’ll be traveling an average of 70 miles per day. On Sundays we will take a break and visit churches in the area to educate people on the situation in Uganda.

Marshall: We will be self-supporting ourselves by camping, but if people are willing to put us up for the night, we would greatly appreciate it.

Do you plan on returning to Uganda?

Marshall: Yes, definitely. Next year I will receive my teaching credentials, and I plan to return to Uganda in order to teach the children.

Savage: I am training to become a certified nurse, so I am hoping to go to Africa and use my skills to help improve their quality of life.

What can people do to contribute?

Savage: People can visit www.americasteamsports.com or www.ugandaorphans.com to donate money and find out more information.

Marshall: If people are interested in joining us, we would love more cyclists. People can get the contact information at the Web sites.