Paul Anderson Cycling Challenge rolls through Macon

MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Seven days, 550 miles–one very long bike ride.

The cyclists started their journey six days ago on Thursday.

The ride is meant to raise awareness for the thousands of teens arrested each year–in hopes of keeping them out of trouble.

“Because we’ve all got different struggles,” said cyclist and recent graduate of the Paul Anderson Youth Home Ben Olnhausen.

Struggles can make you stronger.

“It’s just cool to watch everyone push through it,” said Olnhausen.

Especially when you’re pushing through or peddling through the pain.

“Because you know everyone’s got that thought in the back of their head: it’s like man, I really wanna get off this bike and get in the van and say, ‘I’m hurting all over,'” said Olnhausen.

That’s what Olnhausen managed to do just a week ago.

“I was sent to the Paul Anderson Youth Home. I was there for 15 months and I graduated last week,” said Olnhausen.

Now, Ben’s with his buddies on a bike ride.

“(The) first couple of days it was overcast. Last couple of days it’s been pretty sunny,” said Olnhausen.

But not just any bike ride–one to help teens just like him.

“I was heavily involved in drugs and alcohol through high school. When I was 17–actually in March of 2013 I got arrested,” said Olnhausen.

That’s where the youth home stepped in.

“My relationships, especially with my family,” said Olnhausen. “It used to be awful.”

Ben joined in on a youth home tradition: a bike ride to help raise awareness for teens who may need a second chance.

The group stopped by Chik-Fil-A in Macon on their way back down to Vidalia, Georgia.

His message?

“If they told me, you know, you need to stop doing what you’re doing,” said Olnhausen. “It’s going to lead you down a path of destruction, which it did, you know I wouldn’t of listened.”

But now, he’s all ears.

The cyclists’ week-long journey took them all across the state–from Statesboro to Athens.
Their trek ends tomorrow.

It’s 100 miles from Macon to Vidalia.

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