Flat MoDE Kids Bike Across the US

This summer, Flat MoDE Kids are joining Conner Flatt on a bike trip from California to Washington, DC, to raise awareness and money for The Ability Experience, a program which empowers individuals with disabilities. Conner is a member of Phi Kappa Pi and is joining about 25 other Pi Kappa Phi brothers on this two month journey. Along the way, Conner is keeping a blog and will be sharing photos of himself with Flat MoDE Kids on his FaceBook page. His crew will also be traveling with Flat MoDE Kids. We will share these posts on our FaceBook feed.

Conner Flatt is a senior Health Sciences- Pre-Professional student at the University of Missouri. MoDE advocates have enjoyed getting to know him the last couple months and we look forward to cheering him on his journey.


To support Conner's ride and learn more about it, go to his Journey of Hope webpage.

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Before heading to California, Conner met with MoDE kids to tell them about his upcoming trek.  

Journey of Hope

Conner's journey begins in Santa Barbara, CA and ends in Washington, DC, covering 3,663 miles over 59 days. Below is a map of the trip. A detailed itinerary of the Journey of Hope South Route is located on The Ability Experience website. We will be sharing photos of Conner and the crew with Flat MoDE kids as we follow them along the adventure.

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Conner's team will be biking the southern route from Santa Barbara to Washington DC. Unfortunately the middle route through MO was cancelled this year. 

Where is Conner Flatt with the Flat MoDE Kids?

Week One

The first week, Conner rode 460mi from Santa Barbara, CA to Lake Havasu, AZ. The heat (temps over 110) and the altitudes (climbing over 3000mi in15mi) have been intense. Flat Lilly and Flat Nathan blew away as the bikers were passing Disneyland. (Can you blame them for wanting to stay and have fun?) From the ocean to the mountains, the scenery has been amazing. Conner texted us sharing that it has been grueling at times but knowing that MoDE kids are cheering him on helps him keep going.

Bikers in bright yellow shirts resting before riding up a hill
Flat Eliza (paper girl cutout) in front of a desert area
Flat Lilly (paper cutout of girl) in front of a beach with sand and bushes; ocean is off in the distance
Flat Nathan (cut-out boy) held up in front of a road with a mountain in the background
Biker in yellow helmet and shirt in fround of a huge mountain range
Group of guys sitting around a firepit during sunset
Conner holding Flat Will (paper boy cutout) in front of a sign that says "Welcome to Joshua Tree"
Conner holding Flat Morgan (paper cutout girl) in front if a welcome sign for the state of Arizona
Biker about to pass a Disneyland sign
Bikers in yellow shirts preparing their bikes to ride; flat desert and large blue sky background

Week Two

Week two began with a day of rest in Lake Havasu, Arizona. The journey took the team to the Grand Canyon for a day of sightseeing. There were a couple Friendship Visits, where the bikers spent time visiting with individuals at local camps. Money raised from this cross country bike trip goes to these camps which empower individuals with disabilities. Conner had his first century ride with over 100mi in a day, from Kingman to Williams, Arizona. Flat tires continue to plague the riders, but the greatest obstacle of the second week were nearby fires. The riders had to drive from Flagstaff to Payson passing through Phoenix because the smoke wasn't safe for riding. Over 400mi were biked this second week.

Flat Logan (paper boy cutout) in front of a road with rocky mountains and palm trees in background
Distant view of four bikers in yellow shirts riding along the road on a rocky cliff
Group of bikers riding along a main road with a mountain in the background
Flat Blake (paper boy cutout) held up in front of donkeys standing in the road
Conner and two campers wearing big smiles while taking a selfie
Conner sitting around a table with four campers
Back of Conner as he looks over the Grand Canyon
Conner and another man holding a blue and white Pi Kappa Phi flag in front of the Grand Canyon
Flat Elliot (paper boy cutout) in front of the Grand Canyon
A manmade geyser shooting up in the middle of a grassy field
Flat Amelia being held up in front of a lake with mountains at the far distance
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Week Three

Conner, the Journey of Hope team, and our Flat MoDE kids are crossing New Mexico during this third week. A Native American reservation being shut down due to COVID forced a detour. Conner's knee started bothering him into day 16 and eventually had to come off the bike to let it recover. The riders had a day off from riding to enjoy Albuquerque and the 4th of July. While riding through Roswell, the bikers made aluminum foil hats to protect their brains.

Paper cutout boy (Flat Elliot) in front of New Mexico state sign; two bike riders are looking at sign
Painting on brick wall that says, "Greetings from BURQUE"
View of adobe home in Albuquerque
Two bikers riding up a hill with desert in the background
Two people admiring the view of a huge canyon
Paper cutout girl in front of mountain and desert
Group of bikers in blue tshirts with a camper
Male biker wearing an aluminum cone on his helmet in front of Welcome to Roswell sign
Flat cutout boy in front of old buildings

Week Four

Conner, the Journey of Hope team, and our Flat MoDE kids have left New Mexico and are in Texas. The two Flat MoDE kids who flew out of Conner's bag near DIsneyland returned to him in the mail. They had fun souvenirs to show off. After a day off to recover, Conner's knee is much better and he is riding full force. Rain seems to following the guys, even through what should be dry areas. One van got stuck in the mud for four hours. The riders had a friendship visits along the way but couldn't take photos.

Male biker holding a Flat MoDE kid in front of a Texas State Line sign
Bikers on the side of the road repairing bikes
Flat MoDE girl with a princess hat and Minnie Mouse doll in front of a desert field
Crowd of bikers in yellow shirts getting bikes ready to ride
Flat paper girl being held up in front of a grassy field with windmills in the distance
Huge armadillo statue
Two guys changing a flat tire on a bike
Vehicle stuck in mud
Group of guys relaxing around a pool

Week Five

Conner, the Journey of Hope team, and our Flat MoDE kids spent the 5th week riding through Texas. One highlight of the week was family weekend, where Conner's parents where able to visit him. (Fun fact: Conner's mom worked with Missouri PTA a few years ago and helped a few MoDE moms start a Special Ed PTA in Columbia. We didn't know the connection until after we met Conner.) The storms continued to cause problems for the riders. Towards the end of the 5th week, they crossed into Louisiana.

Conner and two men studying a map
Line of guys on bicycles listening to instructions
Flat MoDE Kid at the Astro ball field
Street with a sign stretched over it that says "Fort Worth Stock Yards"
Conner with his parents
Bicyclists and crew all posing for a group photo in front of a food truck names "Austin's Underdawgs"
Conner in front of a Welcome to Louisiana sign

Week Six

Week 6 has taken the riders from Louisiana, through Mississippi, and into Alabama. Can you imagine riding a bike through three states in a week? The heat and humidity of the Gulf states have been weighing down on the team. They had a few friendship stops over the week. At one friendship stop, Conner tried out an accessible fishing rod. The team has hit the foothills of the Appalachian Mts making the ride a bit tougher.

Flat MoDE Boy in front of Welcome to Mississippi sign
Journey of Hope Bike Team photo
Flat MoDE boy held up in front of a lake
Conner fishing with boy at lake
Accessible fishing poles with motorized reels
Flat MoDE Boy in front of Welcome to Sweet Home Alabama sign
Google map screenshot of the US with a red line marking the path the team has taken from CA to MS
Flat MoDE boy in front of a Pi Kappa Phi house
Flat MoDE boy at football stadium

Week Seven

The Journey of Hope South team rode from Alabama through Georgia and into South Carolina during week 7. Conner wrote, "Day 43 we road from Birmingham to Carrollton, Georgia. The ride was 130 miles with 8000ft of climbing. The ride was very difficult and tiring. It wasn’t until the last 40 miles that I really had to look inside and dig out the strength to finish the ride. During the ride there was a 1000ft climb to the top of a hill that was on a 3 mile stretch. The challenge of the big climb once again helped me rediscover why I ride. I thought about all my flat kids that I have been carrying and how I have been trying to do my best to give them the vicarious experience of the journey." The team had the chance to spend some free time at the Braves baseball game and at Clemson.

Conner holding Flat MoDE Kids at Brave's Stadium
3 bikers in front of a Tailadega Superspeedway sign
Sign at Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity
Flat MoDE Kid in front of swimming pool

Week Eight

This is the final full week for the team. They wrap up their journey and ride into Washington DC on Saturday, August 14. They kicked off this week with a visit to the Ability Experience headquarters and the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity in Charlotte, NC. From there they rode to Virginia. Conner wrote, "It’s crazy to think that sometimes we can climb up some pretty serious hills faster than we could ride on the flat 2 months ago." They had a friendship visit and Conner had the chance to practice his sign language. They have ridden over 3000mi and have just a couple more days to go.

Conner in front of Welcome to NC sign
Journey of Hope team with Flat Mode Kid in front of Carowinds sign
Cook Out cup
3 bikers riding on Virginia road
Conner in front of Danville, VA sign