Written by: Karen Powers
So much of the Fuller Center Bike Adventure is about dreams. During our orientation meetings way back at the beginning of June, I remember being struck by the number of fellow riders who said that it is their dream to ride their bike across our country. I admire the courage, determination, and grit they have shown these past four weeks in working to make their dreams come true. These riders’ dreams, in turn, help others’ dreams to come true: individuals and families who dream of owning their own home or making much-needed improvements upon the home they already own. I think it’s pretty cool when you can use the fulfillment of your own dreams to help others’ dreams come true.
Whenever people learn that I am riding my bike across the country this summer, one of the very first questions they ask is, “Why?”. I have to admit that riding my bike across the country was never one of my dreams; my dream requires significantly less physical exertion: it is to sit by the edge of the sea somewhere and write a novel. Until that happy day, my husband and I have the true luxury of being able to travel during the summer months. In researching travel opportunities last fall, we stumbled across the Fuller Center Bike Adventure and thought it sounded like an amazing opportunity to both travel and give back, so our initial answer to the question “Why?” was really “Why not?”.
In trying to decide whether or not this kind of trip was something we really wanted to do or even could do, one of the first people we sought out for advice was Phil and Denise French, friends of my parents who rode their bikes across the country to celebrate the United States’ bicentennial in 1976. Over dinner one night at my parents’ house, Phil and Denise shared their stories, their photos, and even their journal with us. They encouraged and inspired us. I will never forget Phil’s parting words to Mike and me when he left my parents’ house that evening. He looked right at us and said, “Make it happen.” That pretty much sealed the deal for me; I was in. This past spring, Phil passed away suddenly and unexpectedly, but his parting words continue to echo in my head. His prompting to “make it happen” has carried me up hills, across deserts, and through buffeting crosswinds. It has both challenged and strengthened me.
During the past four weeks of this Adventure, I have discovered that we each arrived at the FCBA chasing different dreams. We each have different abilities, skill sets, and perspectives. But, during these past four weeks, we have also created a unity of purpose: to support each other in this mission of riding our bikes across the country in an effort to eliminate poverty housing. Maybe, one happy day, I will sit by the edge of the sea somewhere and write a book about the amazing people I have met, the life-changing things I have learned, and the multitude of dreams I have been a part of this summer.