We are rapidly approaching the bittersweet point on the East Coast Fuller Center Bike Adventure. It’s exciting to realize we’ve ridden enough miles to put a major dent in the approximately 2200 miles we’ll ride between Portland, ME and Key West, FL., but at the same time, there is the realization that each mile we ride is actually bringing us closer to the end of this incredible journey. It’s hard to imagine that someone could dread the end of such an intense experience but it is an almost universal feeling among the riders—this will all have to end, and much too soon.
I got a taste of the Fuller Center Bike Adventure by riding the Seattle, WA to Kellogg, ID segment of the 2016 cross country ride. That experience convinced me I had to come back and do more than just a week so riding both coasts this year is my goal. It has been interesting to see how many of the riders in our group are return riders. Some of the riders have done four or five rides with the Bike Adventure. As my time with the group has gone on, though, I’ve come to see they are back for the same reason I wanted to come back.
There is a tremendous sense of accomplishment riding as a representative for the Fuller Center for Housing. Whether stopping at a fast food place for a quick snack and spending 20 minutes talking to a very inquisitive 8-yr old boy who had a million questions about our adventure or talking to church members from the churches that host us each night about where we’re going, why we’re riding, and hearing the stories of their towns.
There is also the fund raising aspect of the trip. Knowing that the funds raised by the riders on the East Coast trip will provide safe, secure housing for up to 10 families is an accomplishment we are all very proud of.
But for me, the best parts of the trip are those opportunities we have to get off the bikes and participate in a “Build Day” where we can pick up a hammer or a paint brush to put some of our own effort into a project. Even if at the end of the day we were only able to accomplish a small piece of a larger project, it is very rewarding to be able to see the progress we’ve made and know that we contributed directly to giving someone hope of a better tomorrow.
I’ve been truly blessed to be part of this adventure and it is not hyperbole to say it has been a life-changing experience. I thank all those who have donated, all those who have ridden with me, and all who have shared in the Build Days for your contributions to the work of the Fuller Center for Housing.