Freshman bikes 1,450 miles to first year of college

JJ Jehangir, a UM freshman in the Frost School of Music, rode his bicycle from Illinois to Miami, which proved to be an interesting journey. Photo by Tanya Thompson // Hurricane Staff.

Booking airfare and loading up cars are common ways for incoming freshmen to transport themselves to college for the first time. However, for freshman Jamshed Jehangir, bicycle and a backpack were the only necessities for his trip to the University of Miami.

Jehangir, known by friends as “JJ,” biked from his home in Downers Grove, Ill. to the Coral Gables campus – a 1,450-mile journey that took him 17 days.

“I was trying to find an adventure,” said Jehangir, who is majoring in studio music and jazz. “If you have an opportunity like that, you take it.”

Jehangir, who began bicycling this summer, prepared for the long journey by taking a 400-mile trip to visit family in Michigan and by participating in a week-long fundraiser in Colorado.

It was his mother who suggested the trip to Miami after Jehangir asked if he could bicycle to visit family in Tennessee.

“People ask how I got here and they don’t believe it,” he said. “They think it’s awesome, but they don’t understand it.”

For Jehnagir, his trip wasn’t about the publicity. He didn’t tell anyone about it before he left, and, once he arrived on campus, he told only a roommate and one other friend. Jehangir said he wanted to make the journey as much “for himself” as possible, for his own growth and exploration. Once he got to campus, he welcomed the company of friends.

“It’s nice to be around a lot of people after that,” he said. “It was almost a relief to get here.”

While the trip got lonely for Jehangir, he met several people along the way aside from the relatives he stayed with. In Kentucky, he stayed with the son of Sonny Weedman, who built Chicago’s former Weedman Park, which is now the site of Wrigley Field in Chicago.

“That’s what traveling is all about,” Jehangir said. “Getting to know different people.”

Jehangir said he believes his biking journey to the university made his college experience more fulfilling. “It made [starting college] a lot more comfortable,” he said. “After that, you’re really not scared of anything.”