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Cousins finish Minnesota-to-Maine bike ride benefiting nonprofit

Cousins complete bike ride from Minnesota to Maine for a good cause
Cousins complete bike ride from Minnesota to Maine for a good cause 03:13

MINNEAPOLIS — Two days after Britta Swanson graduated from the University of Minnesota Duluth, she set out on a three-week biking adventure with her cousin, Karina Schindler.

"I said would do this, so I'm just gonna keep going," Swanson said.

That was her mindset while biking across the country.

"It was everything we expected it to be and also nothing we expected it to be," Schindler said.

Britta Swanson

The pair spent 17 days biking from Minnesota to Maine, traveled through seven states, one Canadian province and averaged 85 miles a day.

"Erin, my aunt, drove basically every single mile with us and then biked so much," Schindler said. "She is an absolute beast, on the bike, off the bike. She made sure we were cared for."

It wasn't easy. The close to 1,500 miles took grit to complete. But their reason for the ride kept them going. Between the two of them, the girls raised nearly $14,000 for World Bicycle Relief, a nonprofit that empowers and mobilizes low-income regions through bikes.

"Just that reassurance of we're doing this for something bigger than ourselves really made it easier to keep going," Swanson said. "What WBR is doing is really amazing."

Their contribution funded 80 lifechanging bicycles.

"Every once in a while, Erin would get an email of like, 'Oh, your bike is going to Malawi' or 'Your bike is going to Colombia,'" Schindler said. "Oh, this is a real thing that we are doing. These are real people that we are helping. Just knowing that is just an awesome, awesome feeling."

Another awesome feeling was the finish line in Maine.  

"We took out our bikes, plopped them on the beach and full kit and everything ran into the ocean together," Schindler said. "It was awesome."

The cousins seem to always have a new adventure in the works, but right now, the next adventure is living together. They hope to find a place this fall.

"I mean, there's the whole other half of the country, you know? We haven't been through the Rockies yet," Swanson said. "So, maybe we'll be back in a few years fundraising for something different. But we'll see."

Click here to donate to the cause.

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