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Wheels For Wells – The 2011 Ride in Review
Wheels For Wells Announces 2012 Ride Dates. July 8th – July 14th 2012

Nags Head, NC – Ocean City, NJ July 8th – July 14th 2012

The 2011 Ride in Review

Written by Christopher Carr on Wednesday, February, 15th, 2012

On August 1st of 2011, 10 riders and 7 volunteers began an adventure called Wheels for Wells.  The goal: bike 392 miles from Nags Head, North Carolina, to Ocean City, New Jersey, over the course of 6 days.  The purpose: raise $20,000 for clean water projects in Africa.  Chris Carr, a local graphic artist/web designer and Marketing Director for Compassion Corps, was the heart and soul of this project.  In 2009, Chris traveled to Timbuktu, Mali, with this agency and saw for himself the dire circumstances that thousands of people deal with everyday.  Women walk for 2 hours in one direction to find a well where they can draw water for their families to drink as well as to use to cook, wash, and water their animals. Chris came back from Africa a changed man and began a campaign that brought him to this culminating event on August 1, 2011.

On the Road!


It was no easy task to work out the logistics, gather a group willing to give up a week of their summer to ride, and garner the support of family and friends to undertake this project.  There were many days that the prospects looked dim and his hopes would falter, but with perseverance, some loyal friends, and a lot of heart, Wheels for Wells commenced and was a huge success.


Eastern University was fully involved with Wheels for Wells, being one of the title sponsors for the ride. Three of the ten riders were Eastern graduates (Ben Ruegsegger, Clare Oestreicher, Austin Davco), Jim & Rita Henderson and Brian & Katie Dennstaedt, all Eastern grads, served as support staff before and during the event, and at least 7 other Eastern students, interns, and graduates all helped to make Wheels for Wells happen.


This 5-state Atlantic Water Tour was developed as a major fundraising event of Compassion Corps           (www.compassion-corps), a local nonprofit organization which seeks to make a difference for those in need in some of Africa’s hardest places.  One of those places is Timbuktu, Mali, where a brave indigenous pastor works tirelessly to help the people of his region battle to survive in what is called the “Belt of Misery.” Pastor Nouh Ag Infa Yattara also completed his graduate work at Eastern and returned to Africa to help his people. Compassion Corps has partnered with Pastor Nouh on medical clinics and water projects.  They have provided well caps and pumps for 2 existing wells and resourced the building of a well in the village of Elabdach.  Some of the Wheels for Wells’ proceeds will be used to finish off the well cap and pump on that well, giving the people of Elabdach clean, pure water.


Perhaps the words of one of the riders, Clare (Ruegsegger) Oestreicher, say it best:


When the idea of riding my bike for 392 miles in one week was presented by my friend Chris I was excited but not completely sold. Sure , I like my bike….  its red and white and moves pretty fast thanks to my Husband’s bike skills…but six days in August … riding…. ohhhh… I kept thinking about the time away from life, the cost of fundraising, the fear of the unknown. I had this thought that someone else would surely step up to the plate. I waited and waited and soon realized that the opportunity was before me for a reason.  I didn’t know it at the time but the transforming process of believing in something and sticking your neck out on the line for a cause changes your character. I began learning about where the wells would be drilled, how many lives would be impacted and soon realized this was something that would change my life deeply. Over the course of 6 days I watched as Jan and Beth (Compassion Corps Directors) shared their passion for reaching the less fortunate in Africa. They gave of their time  and talent  to impact others- many of whom they may never meet. Their desire to make a difference was contagious!


I watched as my friends and family came on board and became connected to a cause that just a few months  ago was not even on our radar. Whereas initially I was nervous to fundraise I slowly learned that people really cared and wanted to support something I believed in. Just as I had seen the acts of service through Jan and Beth my supporters saw in me the step of faith that was being taken.


The riders preparing to set out for a day of cycling

The event was well on its way and the joy of riding on back country roads made the time in the saddle well worth it. The volunteers were awesome! They greeted us at every rest stop with cold wash clothes and smiles from ear to ear. We were well fed and care for all along the way. I rode my bike through six states. Can you believe it??? Collectively, we raised close to $20,000.00. They made us feel like we were champions- when really they were the ones making it happen…We rode the bikes, and helped raise the funds but Compassion Corps is changing the World- one well at a time.


Wheels for Wells 2012 is scheduled for July 8th -14th.  The dream is to double the number of riders in order to fund irrigation projects which will allow for food production in barren areas, which in turn will save and sustain many lives.  If you love to ride and want to help make a difference, please check out the Wheels for Wells website and inquire for more details.

Wheels For Wells is a division of Compassion Corps

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