Bicycle Touring Pro Travel Scholarship – 2012 Finalists

2012 marks the third year of the Bicycle Touring Pro Travel Scholarship – which was created in order to give small micro-grants to young, first-time bicycle travelers. As someone who started bicycle touring at the age of 17, and with very little money in my bank account, I know that just a small amount of money can go a very long way when put in the right hands… and that is that the BTN Travel Scholarship is all about.

This year, I’ve narrowed down the list of scholarship finalists to just 20 individuals, whom you can read about below. With applicants from all around the world, their travel plans vary greatly, but all of them have one thing in common – the goal of traveling by bike at some point this year.

Be sure to read through the list of finalists below and then come back to on April 2, 2012 to find out which of these twenty individuals will be selected as this year’s recipient of the Bicycle Touring Pro Travel Scholarship.

Hansen and Paul Hoepner (29 – Germany) are planning a long-distance bicycle tour from Berlin to Shanghai, through Germany, Poland, Belarus, Russia, Kazachstan, Kyrgyzstan, China and hopefully Tibet as well. The two brothers want to travel the world and show people how beautiful the planet can be its most remote areas.
This summer, Elliott Skierszkan (22 – Canada) will celebrate the end of his undergraduate studies with a solo, unsupported bicycle trip from Riga, Latvia to Lisbon, Portugal. “My tour will take me from my paternal family origins in Kraslava, Latvia, to Poland, Slovakia, Austria, across the Swiss and French Alps and to my maternal family origins in France.”
David Henry (18), Guadalupe Fernandez (19), and Carlos Salgado (20 – USA) are going to ride from San Francisco, CA to Chicago, IL, and then onto Yorktown, VA. They hope to use the ride as an opportunity to raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
Kyle John Bocian (19 – USA) and a friend are planning to ride down to Highway 101 from Portland, Oregon and take that all the way down to San Diego. Then they will hop onto the Sierra Cascade bicycle route and take that all the way back up to Portland. In total the trip is about 3500 miles, and the two young cyclists plan on tackling it all in just 78 days.
After hitchhiking and getting around by local transport for more than a year Pablo Mandado (24 – Spain) and Ilze Zebolde (27 – Latvia) are planning to pick up some bicycles and travel back to Europe under their own human power.
Cecilia Alonzo (17 – USA) plans to cycle around Europe or the USA or maybe even Brazil with a couple of friends and inspire other young people to preserve the environment and experience new cultures. She also plans to plant trees along the way and do volunteer work along the routes she travels.
Yaara & Daniel Lev (27 – Israel) recently rented a tandem bicycle and liked the experience so much, they began planning a long-distance tandem bike tour across Europe. “We would like to do a tandem bike tour because it’s more fun, more engaging, more strengthening for our relationship.”
Henryk Stawicki (27 – Poland) is transitioning from a busy desk job to life on the road. He leaves soon on a multi-year bicycle touring adventure around the world. One of the things Henryk hopes to do is create a book/album with pictures and short  stories of the traveling cyclists he will meet along the way.
Daniel Zaas (19 – USA) is planning to fly to Bellingham, WA and to cycle from there to Glacier National Park, Yellowstone, Denver, St. Louis, and eventually finish his tour in Cleveland, OH. Daniel is hopes to use his bicycle tour as a chance to ask the people he meets along the way about any climate changes they have experienced in their part of the country.
Kasia Szewczyk (23 – Canada/Poland). “I plan to bike solo cross mainland Europe this summer, from Spain to Turkey, biking some 3,000 km or more with the goal to raise $10,000 CAD for World Literacy Canada –  a small NGO with excellent literacy and skill-building programs in India!”
Gunner Decker (19 – USA) wants to travel the length of the Mississippi River on his bicycle! “I first heard about bicycle touring from Peter Gostelow, who cycled all the way from Japan to his home in the UK. The wild and exotic places he went through and the challenges he faced showed that I am missing out on so much in the world.”
Matt Reeve (24 – Canada) will be cycling from Vancouver, BC to Toronto, ON. “I will travel approximately 110 km per day, completely self supported. I will travel predominately on the route of the Trans Canada Highway, although I plan to travel on side roads as much as possible to experience many of the smaller communities of Canada.”
Amanda Zeisset (23 – New Zealand) and her boyfriend, Antonio, are going to cycle from Amanda’s hometown in Vacaville, California, USA to Antonio’s hometown in Cadiz, Spain. “We want to show people that when you open yourself to the world you can achieve anything.”
William Gray (30 – USA) is cycling from Anchorage, Alaska to Ushuaia, Argentina. William plans to travel with his brother and create a website, book, and documentary about his travels. The purpose of the journey, he says, is to show people that it is never too late to learn a new skill and achieve your goals.
Andrew Hendrickson (19 – USA) has dreams of visiting every country in the continental North and South Americas. “I am having trouble figuring out what to do with my life, and this trip would be a good opportunity to gain ‘real-life’ experience, do some intense self examination, and give me some better ideas of what I really want to spend the rest of my life doing.”
After graduating from University, Jamie Davisn (21- England) and four friends will be embarking on an around the world bike tour – from England to Australia, then through the USA and back to Europe for the final stretch. The young travels hope to use the trip as a chance to raise money for two separate charities.
This summer, Adam Martinez (24 – USA) is going to ride his bike from Montreal, QC Canada to Orlando, Florida to raise awareness and funds for the International Justice Mission (IJM). “I have had a few traveling bike tourists stay with me lately. It was nice to talk with them and I think that is what finally motivated me to do my own trip.”
Josh Jones (23 – USA), a college roommate, and a high school friend will leave on June 14th for a European bicycle tour from Stockholm to Copenhagen, Hamburg, Amsterdam, London, Paris, Bordeaux, Switzerland, Spain, Portugal, and Italy. The trio plan to return around September 13th – just in time to return to school.
Audrey Wiedemeier (26 – USA) plans to spend two months cycling around Venezuela before venturing off into other nearby South American countries. “There’s no kind of bicycling I won’t try at least once – cross, mountain, road, leisure, transportation, racing, etc. I am interested in bike touring because it ties many of these different cycling styles together.”
Pedro Villarroel (27 – Venezuela) wants to meet people from various walks of life while bicycle touring around South America. Pedro plans to ride from his home in Caraca, Venezuela to Argentina, and then circle back home through Brazil. “I want to inspire people to use their bikes as a primary mean of transportation.”

If you would like to make a donation to this year’s BTN Travel Scholarship, please visit this page.

The winner of this year’s scholarship will be announced on April 2, 2012. Come back then to see which of the twenty people above is selected as the 2012 Bicycle Touring Pro Travel Scholarship recipient.


3 thoughts on “Bicycle Touring Pro Travel Scholarship – 2012 Finalists

  1. Cristina Gil says:

    They never fail to amaze me in how passionate these three individuals are in making this trip a reality. David Henry, Guadalupe Fernandez, and Carlos Salgado have been training nonstop and in turn have inspired others to step outside of our routines and live life to the fullest.

  2. Veronika says:

    I like Kasia’s motivation why she is doing her ride. Her goal to help other women in the world is powerful statement and very inspiring for myself. I imagine it’s a lot of work to organise it and I think she could use the boost!

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