By Rachel Sarnovsky
While many students are winding down at the end of the semester, Philip Leachman is getting ready to take on an adventure of a lifetime.
Leachman, a graduating senior in mechanical engineering, will be cycling across the nation this summer to raise money and awareness for the Ronald McDonald House Charities.
“I am doing this tour as something to cap off and celebrate my graduation from college,” Leachman said. “I also thought it would be a great way to raise money for a charity because of the sheer number of people we are bound to meet and encounter.”
The tour will begin May 7 in San Diego and end in New Jersey. Leachman is making the tour with his brother and father. His father is also a UK graduate.
“My inspiration for this came out of a love for weeklong bicycle tours that I would do with my dad and brother,” Leachman said.
He said while attending UK, he has gotten to know students from around the country.
“I love learning about what their experiences have been like coming from other parts of the country and I want to see this even more,” he said.
The Leachmans have set a goal of raising $30,000 for the Ronald McDonald House Charities.
“We also chose Ronald McDonald House because along the way there are several people — complete strangers — who have agreed to host us, providing meals and a warm place to stay for the night as we traverse the country,” Leachman said. “This premise of strangers providing meals and a warm place to stay is a core part of what Ronald McDonald House does.”
Ben Leachman, Philip’s father, graduated from UK with a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering.
He said the objectives of this trip are to participate in a fundraising effort for a great cause, experience new parts of the country, meet new people along the way, achieve a sense of accomplishment and build lifelong lasting memories on a six-week adventure.
“Philip conceived this fundraising idea as a beneficial utilization of his time between college graduation and the start of his professional career,” Ben Leachman said. “A bike trip across America has been a long-term desire of mine, but it was only a dream that my two sons would request to do it with me, as well as take the opportunity to raise funds and awareness for this great cause.”
The Leachman family calls itself Team Leachman Cycling (TLC) and has already completed smaller cycling journeys throughout Kentucky and Ohio.
“I’m hoping to see America from a new perspective,” Leachman said. “I am excited to see the spirit of America through the people I meet both in small towns and large cities along the way.”
For more information on the Leachman family’s cycling tour across America, visit tlctour2012.wordpress.com.