It would take a strong incentive to get most people to hop on a 10-speed bicycle and peddle 3,300 miles across the United States - $1 million might be enough - but Catherine Foote is doing it with no hope of collecting a dime for herself.
She rode into Provo during the weekend exhausted from the hot miles she's already logged, but ready to tell anyone who would listen why she's doing it."Sometimes while I'm riding I think about the reason I'm doing it. I think about the people it can count for."
Those people are the victims of child sexual abuse, and Foote hopes her ride across the country will bring attention to the problem, which she says must be talked about more openly.
"I wanted to do something that could make a difference. Compared to the courage kids have in facing this problem, the ride is a good parallel," she said. "We need support for programs that will come to the aid of the children and help them put things back together in a healthy way."
Foote, a professor at San Jose Bible College in California, must mean what she says. She's already traveled 760 miles on her bike over the Sierra Nevada, a steep trek even in a car, and through the Nevada desert.
She hasn't lost any of her spirit, though, and has no doubt she'll be in Washington D.C. on Aug. 3 to present a statement about child sexual abuse to a government representative, along with several letters she's carrying that were written by children who've been abused.
Foote seems to be gaining support as she travels. People she meets are encouraged to sign a statement of concern about the problem, and all the money donated during the trip will benefit the child sexual abuse prevention and treatment programs of Parents United throughout the country.
A group from the Provo chapter of Parents United welcomed Foote to Provo. Lynn Roundy, director of the local Parents United said Utahns should know there is help available to abuse victims here.
"The sexual abuse of children is a problem many of us do not wish to acknowledge, because of the unpleasantness associated with it. We would all like to believe that incest and other forms of child sexual victimization are rare," he said. "The truth is that as we openly study the topic, we are finding again and again that sexual trauma in childhood is a painful part of the lives of far too many children. It is probable that as many as 25 percent of females and 9 percent of males will be sexually abused before they reach adulthood."
Foote has seen the effects sexual abuse has on children through her work as a volunteer coordinator of a Parents United self help group in San Jose. The idea for her cross-country bike ride was born while she talked with colleagues at Parents United about how she could spend the summer productively.
She has been riding bikes for about 15 years, but she spent several months before her trip began on June 4 preparing herself physically by riding several hours a day, and the work has paid off.
"So far, so good. I've gotten through Nevada and I still like mountains, so that's a good sign," she said. "When people see us on the road, they honk and wave and a lot of people have signed the statement of concern."
Foote and a small support group that travels with her in a banner-drapped van, put in seven to eight hours a day, traveling about 15 mph, 70 miles a day.
When it's all over, Foote just hopes more people will be aware of the problem.
"We have a good Parents United program in Utah. I would like people to know there's help."