Legwork Facilitates Leadership as Students Bike Across Texas


When Jace Langen, a sophomore bio-chemistry major and microbiology minor from Iowa Park, Texas, enrolled in Hardin-Simmons University’s Leadership Studies Program, he never dreamed that it would lead to the bike ride of his life.

Over this semester, Langen and seven other riders have been building endurance for a bike ride that will include the low palm-tree-dotted flats of South Texas and the rolling terrain of the Texas Hill Country. No doubt, the students will see the curve of the Earth as they make their way across the Texas Panhandle and the Oklahoma Panhandle to wrap up more than 900 miles later in Liberal, Kansas.

“The trip gives students first-hand experience with organization, communication, problem solving, teamwork, and leadership,” said Dr. Coleman Patterson, professor of management and leadership and director of the Leadership Studies Program at HSU, who will bike with the students.

“Through the planning, preparation, and execution of the project, leadership students learn goal setting, critical thinking, conflict resolution, awareness of individual differences, supportive communication, teamwork, and project management,” said Patterson. “The Bike Ride Across Texas gives students opportunities to practice and develop leadership and organization skills in a real project.”
The bike trip begins Saturday, May 10, 2014, as students drive with bikes and gear to Brownsville, Texas. The 925-mile bike ride will start from there with the students making a mid-way stop in Abilene to talk with elementary students about the importance of healthy living and exercise.

As part of the ride, participants will also use the experience to preach the importance of life-long fitness, healthy living, and bicycle safety to people along the 925-mile route.

“Through newspaper stories, television appearances, and publicity on the ride, we get to tell others that obesity prevention, exercise, and healthy living are important issues for all Texans,” said Langen. “Riding our bikes is a good way to illustrate healthy living in practice.”

Three elementary school presentations in Abilene at the ride’s mid-point layover will put HSU students face-to-face with young people who will hopefully make fitness and exercise regular parts of their lives, said Patterson.

“We'll also be discussing the proper hand signals to use when biking, how to map safe routes, what to wear when riding a bike, and how proper nutrition helps to supply your body’s energy demands,” said Patterson.

Leadership students are scheduled to speak May 16, 2014, at Austin Elementary School around 10 a.m., Taylor Elementary School at 1 p.m., and Lee Elementary about 2 p.m. Langen said the leadership class will organize into smaller groups so participants can spend as much time as needed at each of the schools.

Students will continue their journey Saturday, May 17, to finish the 925-mile ride in Liberal, Kansas, on May 19 before returning to Abilene the following day. Patterson said it will take more than 70 hours of actual riding time to complete the journey.

BRAT 2014 route: Brownsville, Premont, Tilden, Leakey, Eden, Abilene, Paducah, Wheeler, Liberal (Kansas).

This is the second time for Leadership Studies students to bike across Texas. Last May students rode from El Paso to Texarkana.

For details regarding route, sponsors, photos, videos:


Funding and sponsors of BRAT 2:

“The student group exceeded its fundraising goals for the trip with support from BlueCross/BlueShield of Texas, Biketown, West Techs, Texas Martial Arts Center, Abi-Haus, Long Horn Steakhouse—New Braunfels, HSU Athletics, and many generous family members and friends—including some special ones from HSU,” said Patterson. 

The team is being hosted for evening stays at First Baptist Church-Premont, Tilden Baptist Church, HEB Foundation Camps, First Baptist Church-Eden, First Baptist Church-Paducah, First Baptist Church-Wheeler, and First Baptist Church-Liberal. 

“This adventure would not have been possible without the generous support of all of our sponsors,” said Patterson.

Special Recognition:

BRAT2 received a special recognition in late April as it was named an “Advocate” for the President’s Challenge. 

The President’s Challenge is a part of the President’s Council on Physical Fitness that advocates and encourages fitness, healthy living, and wellness in communities across the nation. 

The Leadership Studies class will have its name and project description listed on the President’s Council on Physical Fitness website for the next year. 

 More on the Leadership Studies Program:

“Learning occurs both in and out of the classroom as students participate in case studies, travel courses, a variety of special topic courses, and outdoor adventure-education courses like the bike ride,” said Dr. Coleman Patterson. “These all help to complete the Leadership Studies experience.”

Throughout the school year, Leadership students work with non-profit organizations to implement and practice the concepts that they study in the classroom. As they create and perform service projects, their goal is to meet some real community needs.

Students are expected to maintain acceptable grade point averages in their college coursework and also be involved in organizations on campus, in their church, and in the community.

We are looking for people who want to make differences in their communities and in the lives of others,” said Patterson. “Leadership and teamwork skills are developed through outside-of-class service learning and experiential learning activities in the classroom.”

Students participated in the International Model United Nations Conference in Vienna, Austria, the National Model UN Conference in Washington D.C., and the HPU Security Council Simulation conference in 2013 and 2014.







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