College students, who are friends from Chicago and are bicycling and skateboarding from Chicago To New York City, camped at Pike Lake Campground in Warsaw Thursday and Friday night. The friends are recording their travels for a documentary they are filming. Pictured (L to R) are Tony Michal, Arthur Swidzinski, James Lagen and Mike Kosciesca. Photo by Jennifer Peryam, Times-Union
College students, who are friends from Chicago and are bicycling and skateboarding from Chicago To New York City, camped at Pike Lake Campground in Warsaw Thursday and Friday night. The friends are recording their travels for a documentary they are filming. Pictured (L to R) are Tony Michal, Arthur Swidzinski, James Lagen and Mike Kosciesca. Photo by Jennifer Peryam, Times-Union
Four friends from Chicago, who are making a documentary of their travels to New York City while skateboarding and bicycling, camped at Pike Lake Campground in Warsaw Thursday and Friday night.

The friends began their 900-mile trip June 2 at Millennium Park in Chicago. They hope to reach Times Square in New York City by the end of this month.

The friends have been planning the trip for a year, and are making a documentary called "Shred America." "Shred America" is the film company the group started two years ago.
Tony Michal, 21, and James Lagen, 20, are riding bicycles and filming the trip. Michal is a film student and Lagen is a medical student, both at Columbia College of Chicago.

Arthur Swidzinski, 20, and Mike Kosciesza, 20, are skateboarding during the trip. They are television production students at Columbia College of Chicago.

Kosciesza came up with the idea for the trip a year ago.

"I woke up one morning and thought it would be fun to take a trip with my friends," Kosciesza said.

Swidzinski said, although it is challenging skateboarding for long distances, he and Kosciesza trained on their skateboard before taking the trip.

"The first day of our trip my hamstrings hurt and then different parts of my muscles began to hurt in my legs as I used them," Swidzinski said.

The friends bike and skateboard 30-50 miles a day and each drink about a gallon of water every mile. They are equipped with two skateboards and two bikes with small trailers on the back that store food, clothing and a tent.

They stay at campgrounds, but when the weather is bad, stay in hotels.

They have sponsors for their trip, who have supplied them with clothing, shoes, hats and skateboards.

The group purchased high definition video cameras they are using to film their travels and also have digital cameras.

They said their goal is to submit the film in film festivals. Their dream would be to be on Conan O'Brien or David Letterman.

They hope to make a picture scrapbook of people they meet along their trip. They interview people along the way about their towns, and film each other's responses to the trip.

They will film in New York City, and then take a plane back to Chicago.

Michal and Lagen are both enjoying filming the trip.

"I thought the trip was a great way to practice what I have learned in school and to make memories," Michal said. "We try to not plan the trip too much because it takes the fun out of it."

Besides hot and humid weather, the first major obstacle the group had to overcome was when Lagen was in Kosciusko Community Hospital Friday afternoon. He was diagnosed with thermal burn on his legs and was advised to stay out of the sun for three days. The thermal burn was a combination of sun burn and heat radiating from asphalt.

"I expected one of us to end up in the hospital at some point, but I didn't expect it to be this soon," Lagen said.

The group headed for Ohio Saturday where Lagen's aunt lives. Since Lagen was not allowed to be out in the sun, his aunt picked him up and drove him to Ohio while the others biked and skate boarded.

"We are hoping our stamina and overall wellness will be adjusted as we get further in the trip," Kosciesza said.