Written by: Kert Emperado
A little history…
This is my 8th ride with the Fuller Center Bike Adventure (FCBA). My initial experience with FCBA started in 2013 when I wanted to achieve a bucket-list item of biking across the country. What I found was exponentially more. It started as a Google search for “biking across the country”, which resulted in luxurious tours with full support, hotel stays, and people doing everything for you. The only thing you had to do was bike and everything was taken care of. Wow! I was sold…until I saw the price of such tours, ranging from $10,000-$13,000. Then I came across the Fuller Center Bike Adventure, which had a small registration fee and the rest you can fundraise; about a dollar per mile. That year, the route was Tybee Island, GA to Vancouver, BC, which was 3700 miles and $3,700. And the money I raised went to building materials for people in need of a decent place to live. What a concept! It turns out that the founder, Millard Fuller, also founded Habitat for Humanity. This appealed to me even more. I couldn’t wait to swing a hammer!
Fast forward to this summer…
I am so blessed to be on this trip. I started a new teaching position in May and had just started to accumulate vacation hours, and was doubtful I could join the trip this year. I must’ve brought up my love for the Fuller Center enough times with my managers that they relented and gave me the time off for this trip. Woohoo!
The biking and other things…
Unlike a select few “hardcore” cyclists who bike long distances throughout the year, most of the riders are just “regular” people, like me. This is a shock to anybody’s mind, body, and even spirit! At times, I ask myself, ‘why am I doing this to myself?’, all this riding, all this sleeping on the floors, all this time? I do however know why I do it: the relationships we form, the communities we help, the beautiful country we roll through, the food we indulge in, the fitness we gain, the drop-dead sleep we get from being exhausted, and the random fun activities that come from living simply. I also enjoy this trip because it brings me closer to God. We sleep in churches, pray before meals, share devotions and personal experiences; an environment perfect for self-reflection and prayer.
Last week was my first week back with FCBA and the mileages were: 71 on Monday, 101 Tuesday, 89 Wednesday, 65 Thursday, 88 Friday, and another 100 miles on Saturday. Phew! I was hurting in all the right and wrong places. My quads were on fire and tight like rocks, but fortunately kept from spasm-ing. The worst and almost debilitating pain were not from the legs and other muscles. It was from sitting on a small seat for hours every day. Padded shorts, creams, Vaseline, powders, Gold Bond, you name it, the riders are using, but still, the pain is real.
Today’s ride from Darlington, SC to Monck’s Corner, SC started with a breathtaking view of the reds, yellows, and oranges of the morning sunrise. What a view! The route was “flat” and the winds were cooperating. The weather, cool and breezy with some harmless clouds in the morning. A number of us rode in small pace-lines, one person blocking the wind for the others behind them. It was great! For one segment, I rode solo for twenty miles to set my own pace and spend time with all the sights, sounds, thoughts and feelings that biking brings; the fluttering wind on my face, the rhythmic sound of the tires rolling on the road, the big trucks zooming past and briefly pulling me forward, the sweat stinging my eyes, the salty taste on my lips, and my heavy breathing and pounding heartbeat as I pushed further.
Today was also laundry day and I was in the laundry chore team. I’m so thankful for great big washers and dryers. If you’ve never taken care of twenty people’s dirty clothes, and biking gear, it’s quite the experience. Fortunately, we had a great team who contributed a lot of effort to get this task done in time for a delicious spaghetti dinner provided by the pastor of Monck’s Corner United Methodist Church.
What a day! God is good.