BRIARCLIFF MANOR, N.Y. With a few pairs of bike shorts, some shirts and tools, Rebecca Bianco is ready to spend six weeks cycling from the Atlantic coast to the Pacific.
Bianco, 16, a rising senior at Briarcliff High School, has taken trips to Tanzania and the Virgin Islands in the past as a part of a teen organization called Overland. This year she decided to bike across America to experience a different kind of adventure, and also to raise funds for the Sunshine Children's Hospital in Ossining and the Living Waters Children's Center in Arusha, Tanzania.
"I'm nervous and excited at the same time. I'm ready to see what experiences this brings and I'm definitely excited to meet new people," Bianco said.
On Friday, Bianco's Trek 5000 road bike was being packaged to be flown to Savannah, Ga., where the bike trip is set to begin with about a dozen other teens and two trip leaders. Bianco expected to start biking on Saturday after a ceremonial dip of her bike's back tire into the Atlantic Ocean.
About six weeks later, when Bianco and her mates reach Santa Monica, Calif., they will dip their bikes' front tires into the Pacific Ocean.
"Hopefully it'll be an amazing trip," Bianco said. "We'll be out there doing stuff on our own and cooking for ourselves so maybe it'll change me to be more independent."
Bianco enjoys being active all the time. During the school year, she plays field hockey in the fall, runs track during the spring and summer, and works as a ski instructor in the winter.
"Even when I was little, I couldn't just sit and watch TV," she said.
After her Overland experience in Africa last year, Bianco said she feels more appreciative of what she has, and culturally broadened by seeing how happy children in Tanzania are living with what they have.
This summer, she's open for more life-changing experiences.
"I'm ready to take on new things," she said.
Do you have exciting summer plans you'd like to share? Leave a comment below or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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