(Photo by Amanda Grove)
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
While hundreds of people will be taking courses from South Seattle Community College (WSB sponsor) this year, we can guarantee that Georgia Mitchell will be the only one taking them while riding a three-wheeled Y Fliker scooter cross-country.
She’s been off at college in Hawai’i, and on a culinary internship in France, before transferring back to join the hospitality program at SSCC.
But first: Starting one week from today, she’s embarking on three months of human-powered travel across America, with three Brazilians and an Irishman.
They’re riding on the Y Fliker, a three-wheeled scooter that requires a sort of “wiggle” to ride, as Georgia describes it. (Here’s the manufacturer’s how-to promotional video, in case you want to see for yourself:
Part of their goal is to raise money to donate hundreds of Y Flikers to schools for fitness programs, beyond 300 that the company making them is donating already. They’re also raising money for a camp in Ireland for kids with serious illnesses – that will be via a second, European leg of the journey, but Georgia is “only” with the team till they get to the east Coast.
How did she get involved? While on the aforementioned internship, Georgia met Waneska Valois, who had used the Y Fliker as part of a PE program in California schools and wanted to figure out a way to get it into more schools.
She and Georgia got to talking – Georgia had always wanted to make a cross-country trip; “In October, we came up with the idea, and in January, it started happening.” Now, it’s almost reality. She’s flying to Los Angeles tomorrow, and in a week, they leave L.A., headed east. (See the route map on their website’s home page.)
They have some corporate sponsors for the trip, during which they’ll be living in an RV, and they also used a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign so they can produce a web-video series along the way.
Georgia says they’re hoping that people will follow their progress via the series – likely with weekly episodes, and shorter clips inbetween – and via events at their stops: “We’re planning to do workshops and demos along the way.”
That’s inbetween 10-or-so-hour daily stints of Y Fliker riding. She says she rode one on cobblestone streets in France, which was a bit of a challenge, but when they started planning the upcoming journey, “it didn’t go through my head that we’d be going up and down mountains!” Their route will cross the Continental Divide in the Colorado Rockies – after they travel from L.A. to Las Vegas to Salt Lake City and beyond.
Georgia acknowledges the first week will likely be brutal physically, but she’s been an athlete all her life – soccer, volleyball, softball, basketball – so she’s ready. Four members of the team will be Y Fliker’ing, while they also will have a driver for the RV and “a media guy” who will work on advance publicity and related matters.
They’re expecting the cross-USA trip to take until early October, at which time Georgia will fly back here to rejoin SSCC classes, which she’ll be taking online in the meantime, starting over the summer.
“It’s going to be life-changing,” she declares. And she of course has the support of proud parents Mark and Carrie Hewitt, though, when asked what they thought at first, she admits her dad “kind of laughed,” being familiar with the type of terrain they’re facing.
So how can you help, besides, of course, donating? “We really want people to follow us along our journey and see what we’re doing, and (how we’re) making a difference along the way.”