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Established in 2016, The Freedom Ride Project is a 501C3, with the mission to raise awareness about human trafficking and move people to action in their own communities. We do this through the Freedom Ride and other events, which aim to raise awareness and support our non-profit partners engaged in the fight against human trafficking.


Our Team is made up of a great leaders, volunteers, riders, crew and ambassadors. Every one of us is committed to ending human trafficking in his or her own way, through service, sport, being a voice. We all do it in our own way, but we are ONE VOICE for ONE CAUSE. We hope you will join us!


This is where the rubber hits the road! Our mission to raise awareness and move people to action really makes a difference when citizens like you step up and get involved. Our vision is that, when we come through your town next year, your community will be transformed because people just like you took action.

Why Human Trafficking?

Human trafficking is now the fastest growing illegal enterprise in the world, second only to drug trafficking, and surpassing it in some regions.

Billion Industry Globally

Every 30 seconds, a child is sold into slavery in the world.

Average Age


Get Out



Donate to the Freedom Ride Project and help us raise awareness about human trafficking and move people to engage in and start projects in their own communities. Any moneys contributed to your campaign will go to support awareness raising through social media, press and events, such as The Freedom Ride 2017, spinathons, yogathons, as well as corporate and school education events. Your donation is tax deductible. 


The demographics of The Freedom Ride Project provide a unique opportunity to promote your company to several targeted demographics. This includes cyclists and extreme sports enthusiasts of all ages, communities touched by our events across Oregon and California, as well as tens of thousands through television, radio and newspapers coverage. Your exposure goes far beyond the Freedom Ride 2017, to ongoing social media promotion and continuous marketing of grass roots projects started as a result of the ride throughout the year.


The Freedom Ride 2017 is a 15-day bike ride covering about 1500 miles from Bend, Oregon to Newport Beach, California from September 16 to October 1, 2016. The course winds through beautiful back roads and hills in Oregon, then follows the ocean along the Pacific Coast until Santa Barbara. From there, we climb up to and descend from Big Bear, summiting Mount Onyx, the longest and highest California climb, and finally descend to finish in Newport Beach.


Interested in joining us? There are all kinds of ways to make a difference, from being part of the Freedom Ride 2017 Crew, planning a Freedom Ride Event, or helping out with specific volunteer roles. If you are interested in joining a great team of volunteers and helping us end human trafficking, please contact us at


The Bend Weekend

September 15 to 17, 2017
  • 140 miles over 2 days
  • 8700 feet of climbing
  • Food & accommodations included
  • Belknap hot springs
  • Jersey, t-shirt & 2 bottles
  • Extra jersey for every additional $200 raised*
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Big Bear Lakes Weekend

September 29 to October 1, 2017
  • 120 miles in one day + resort / beach day
  • 5650 feet of climbing over Mount Onyx
  • Food and Big Bear and Newport Beach Resort included
  • Big Bear Festival and Newport Beach Finish Line Party
  • Jersey, t-shirt & 2 bottles
  • Extra jersey for every additional $200 raised
  • * RIde is on Saturday, September 30
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Elisabeth Gegner

Founder and Director, Freedom Ride Project

Elisabeth (Beth) Gegner is passionate about cycling, the outdoors and nurturing friendships around the globe. Having grown up in Southern France, she remembers the Tour de France coming through her hometown when she was a little girl. But most of all, she has a heart for bringing hope, justice, healing, and a fresh start to victims of slavery and oppression.

Her initial exposure to human trafficking occurred in the late 1990s, while volunteering at an orphanage in Northern Thailand. As she worked with the children, she was shocked to find out that several had been victims of sex trafficking.

Since that time, this tragedy has weighed heavy on her heart. In 2014, after surviving a potentially fatal bike crash with a car, the miracle of her survival triggered in her a powerful sense of calling to make a difference. So in August 2015, Beth decided to ride her bike 1700 miles from Laguna Beach, California to Bend, Oregon – about 100 miles a day – to raise awareness and to fund a safe house for girls in Pattaya, Thailand. In sharing about the cause, she witnessed a significant interest and desire from people along the way to learn more and become involved in their own communities.

These conversations, as well as those with Lisa Bowerman, who rode with her the last three days of the journey, inspired The Freedom Ride 2016. One might say that this ride was born on the bike, as Beth and Lisa climbed over beautiful McKenzie Pass into Bend.

Besides directing the Freedom Ride 2016, Beth holds a Masters in Organizational Behavior and has served in various leadership roles over the past 20+ years, advising businesses on improving their performance. She lives in Laguna Beach, California.

Elizabeth Bowerman

Co-founder and Bend Director, Freedom Ride Project

My name is Elizabeth Bowerman; my friends know me as Lisa. I am an avid cyclist, emergency room nurse, wife and mom of 2 grown children. I am passionate about my faith, my relationships, and having a meaningful impact in people’s lives.

In 2015, I met Beth through a mutual dear friend, and had the privilege of riding several days of the freedom ride with her. I was inspired by her story, and how she was raising awareness for human trafficking. The more I learned about the topic, the more I realized how many misconceptions I had. Not only is human trafficking a global problem, but it is happening in my own backyard, and I can do something to stop it!

As an ER nurse, I now realize that I can make a difference in my healthcare community. At least 89% of human trafficking victims come through an ER or urgent care seeking medical help during the time they are trafficked. Few, if any victims are recovered during that health care visit. There is a great opportunity to educate health care providers on how to recognize these victims and provide them the help they desperately need.

Riding over McKinsey pass with Beth, it became clear to me that I could combine my passion for cycling and my heart for victims of this abuse, to raise awareness about the issue in different communities and to teach others how they, too, can become involved in their own backyard.

I live in Bend Oregon, I had the privilege of planning our 2016 Community Event and of completing the 1500-mile ride. Today, I am helping St Charles Hospitals launch an anti-human trafficking training program for our staff.

Earl Bowerman

Board Member, Freedom Ride Project

Earl is an accomplished international business manager. Earl has worked in semiconductor, medical device, aviation and renewable energy industries. Earl’s real passion is to serve others before he takes a leadership role.

He has established his own non-profit ministries serving foster families, and sponsors 58 families in a weekly food distribution program in Central Oregon for the last 5 years. Earl is driven to make a difference in human trafficking and has partnered with his wife Lisa to disrupt this atrocity on our children.

Lance Knaak

Lance Knaak is a Construction Manager, and has worked in the construction industry for 35 years. He loves the outdoors and all the activities it has to offer. Lance met Beth serving at the Fred Jordan Mission in downtown Los Angeles. He is an active member of his church who truly enjoys serving others. Lance stepped up to help with the finish line event for Freedom Ride 2016, and is looking forward to continue raising awareness about human trafficking in 2017 and beyond.

Heidi Brandow

Board Member, Freedom Ride Project

Heidi Brandow began her career as a teacher/educational consultant working with at-risk youth and special education students. She later transitioned to the corporate world where she spent 15 years developing a strong background and competence in leadership development, coaching, and organizational effectiveness. She worked with Fortune 200 companies such as Chrysler and Gap Inc. before leaving the corporate world in 2010 to lead the Leadership & Executive Development function for World Vision International, a global Christian relief and development organization performing humanitarian work worldwide. Heidi is passionate about helping others realize their potential. She currently spends her time consulting to businesses and non-profits on strategy, leadership and talent management.

Heidi has been active in the modern abolition movement as a volunteer, educator, and activist since 2010. She joined the Freedom Ride Project board in 2017. Heidi lives with her husband, their two daughters, and giant dog in the San Francisco Bay Area.