John Burnett, left, and Hawk Mendenhall, right, are biking across Texas to raise money for The Nobelity Project’s Bikes and Books program. Photo courtesy The Nobelity Project.


It takes grit – and a little bit of the crazies – to pedal a bicycle all the way across Texas.

John Burnett, a roving correspondent for National Public Radio, and Hawk Mendenhall, director of broadcast and content for KUT, Austin’s NPR station, have both. They set out April 10 on a 1,100-mile ride from New Mexico to Louisiana to raise money for the Nobelity Project’s Bikes and Books program.

The cyclists have faced strong winds on their 1,100-mile trip. Photo courtesy The Nobelity Project

They’ve faced long uphills, rough roads and fierce winds, and called the sixth day of their ride the hardest either of them had ever done. “Eighty-eight miles at 9.5 mph, thanks to steadily building headwinds that even had the locals talking about the crazy wind,” they wrote in a blog chronicling the adventure.

Today marks the 11th day of their trip.

I’m heading to Johnson City tonight to meet them, and hopping in for one leg of their journey tomorrow. Hopefully we won’t get slammed by storms as we pedal 45 miles from a lodge near Pedernales Falls State Park to Austin, where the guys will take some much-needed rest. On Friday they will celebrate Earth Day with a party at Bicycle Sport Shop, 517 S. Lamar Boulevard.

Admission to the party, set for 5-7 p.m., is free and open to the public. The lineup includes unicycle races, ping pong, milkweed sales and live music. Real Ale, High Brew Coffee and Richard’s Rainwater will provide beverages.

Donations and raffle ticket sales will support Bikes and Books, which funds bicycles for the top students at four partner high schools and books for its Kenyan school partners. For more information go here.