Friday, November 16 , 2018, 6:31 am | Fair 47º

 
 
 
 

Santa Barbara Teen Thomas Jessop Hits the Road to Raise Money for Homeless

The 14-year-old bicyclist hopes to raise $10,000 and ride 3,200 miles

Thomas Jessop, a 14-year-old Santa Barbara resident, began a 3,200-mile bike ride Sunday afternoon that will take him across the country — from California to Florida — on a journey to raise money for housing for the homeless and the New Beginnings Safe Parking program.

Supporters held a departure rally on Sunday at Alice Keck Park in Santa Barbara.

Unity Church of Santa Barbara, where Jessop is active in the Youth Ministry, supported his journey, making an announcement to the congregation during Sunday’s service, and members contributed to his fund.

“Thomas is a beautiful example of ‘one for all and all for one,’” said Christine Michel, Unity Church’s youth director. “He continues to inspire those who come to know him as he says yes to life and absolutely gives from his overflow.”

Jessop’s goal is to raise $10,000. He plans to average 70 to 100 miles each day, and ultimately hopes to turn the journey into an official race. For now, Jessop will ride alone, with his father and brother driving behind him.

“TTAA (Team Thomas Across America) originated out of me wanting to give back, wanting to do something for other people,” Jessop said.

His desire to give back coincides with his ambition to compete in all five IronKid races across the country. He has been training for IronKid for two years. Jessop noted that professional cyclist Lance Armstrong started with IronKid triathlons.

Click here to track Jessop’s progress on his Web site, which links to his Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and YouTube accounts.

What would Jessop like people to know?

“Just do it. I’ve only started seriously training this year,” he said. “My coach and everyone thinks I’m insane, but I know I can do it. Believe in yourself.”

Noozhawk intern Lindsey Weintraub will be a sophomore at the University of San Diego in the fall. She can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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