After all the waiting, anticipating and nail-biting (mainly done by our mothers), our trip has finally begun!

We kicked off in Livingston, New Jersey, and will continue to bike around the tri-state area until July 6, when we will begin traversing the continent.

Who knew that Livingston would be the perfect place for a grand kickoff event? In honor of her upcoming bat mitzvah, eleven-year-old Olivia Lefkovits raised thousands of dollars to donate specially designed bikes to 100 Friendship Circle children. Our departure was scheduled during Olivia’s Friendship Cycle. After all the children had received their customized bikes, they cycled alongside us in a grand procession. Marching bands led the procession, balloons and streamers flew overhead, and more than 500 people came to witness the one-of-a-kind event.

A car equipped with a video camera drove alongside us for a couple of miles, then it turned back, and we were off on our own! We covered 70 miles on our first day—less than the anticipated 100 miles, due to the kickoff event, but a grand accomplishment nonetheless.

This trip will give us the challenge and experience of a lifetime, but being part of Olivia’s Friendship Cycle reminded us of the true purpose of our trip. Seeing the smiles on those children’s faces, and knowing that we are trekking cross-country to help them, gave us the inspiration to get through those 70 miles. And we know that when we are off in the middle of nowhere, and the road seems desolate and empty, with no one else around for miles, thinking of these children’s smiles will give us the motivation and willpower to move ahead with our journey.

We’d like to introduce you to the Four Dollar Campaign, an initiative being launched along with our trip. In our quest to raise money and awareness for the Friendship Circle, we are aiming to be sponsored for each mile we cycle. As you guessed, each mile is only four dollars. Every dollar we receive goes directly towards helping children with special needs. To donate, please visit our website,

Calling all Facebookers and Tweetaholics! Follow us on our Facebook page, bike4friendship, and our twitter account, @bike4friendship. We look forward to updating you frequently!