A Wisconsin man who was killed while bicycling in southern Utah on Wednesday was cycling to raise awareness of hunger among the Navajos and to raise money for a scholarship.
Tyler Droeger, 27, from Manawa, Wisconsin, was cycling north on the shoulder of U.S. Route 89 near mile marker 117 in Garfield County, just before 3 p.m. on Wednesday, when the driver of a 2012 Subaru Forester drifted off the road, struck him and sent him crashing into a ravine. Droeger died at the scene.
According to a fundraiser he posted on GoFundMe, Droeger was in the midst of “a 4,000-mile-long bike ride around the Southwest in an effort to raise awareness about the food crisis on the Navajo Nation.”
He wrote that the food crisis existed because “there aren’t enough grocery stores, most people live in rural areas, and the food that is available in stores is often high-calorie and packed with unhealthy preservatives.”
According to Droeger, he was also raising money for a “mountain biking scholarship” for “Navajo students in the Flagstaff area.” His goal was $4,000; he raised $6,440.
“Biking is a force in my life,” Droeger wrote. “Bikes allow me to challenge myself, stay healthy, and have fun. I want to give the gift of mountain biking to people who could use it.”
On Sept. 23. Droeger posted an update on his GoFundMe page, reporting that he had traveled 2,826 miles of his 4,000-mile goal. He wrote that he was “feeling positive and in my stride but I’m tired and sore in a deep way. This has truly been the experience of a lifetime. I’m ready to be done, but I know I won’t want to stop once I get to the finish line.”
Droeger wrote that, when he began his journey, he “wasn’t even aware of the inequality we have here in our homeland.” And he offered this advice:
“Be good to the strangers you meet. No matter their situation. it could just as easily have been you In those shoes.”
According to the Utah Highway Patrol, the investigation into Droeger’s death is continuing. The name of the driver who hit him has not been released, and no charges had been filed as of midday Friday.