Written by: Meredith Fitzpatrick
Its been exactly a week since I arrived in San Francisco and met all of the incredible people I’m living alongside. The group is made up of individuals that range in age from 14 to 76 years old, from every corner of the country and from so many different backgrounds. Our one common denominator is that we love riding our bikes and we’ve all come together to take on this huge challenge together.
And the challenge isn’t just riding our bikes through numerous miles of diverse and varying terrain, it’s also learning to live with one another in a completely boundary-less way. We’re sleeping on the floors of churches and community centers together, often times in the same room—that’s 25 people in the same room—and sometimes sharing 1-2 bathrooms. We’ve given up a lot of the privacy and amenities we’re used to in our everyday lives and it’s truly quite impressive. I suppose it’s because we all know how lucky we are to be able to do this and we know that us living so simply for two months out of our year is nothing compared to some of the living conditions of the families that the Fuller Center helps.
That same mentality I think carries over to how we feel about enduring any pain on our bike. Any struggles we have on the bike are fleeting and completely our choice.
At this point in the trip we’ve now logged over 290 miles together, during which we’ve endured intense heat, windy rain, hail, significant ascents and steep descents—and it’s only the first week! It’s a lot to wrap your head around but somehow it works and we’ve all made it. I think a major reason why it works is because we’re all so supportive of each other. Case in point, day 5 on our bikes from Pioneer to Tahoe, CA—aka our toughest day so far. The weather was horrendous, the hills were a challenge in both directions and to top it all off there was barely any cell service to be able to communicate with other riders or rest stops. A majority of the riders chose not to ride due to these conditions, a couple of us did half of the ride and only 5 did the whole ride. It was a rough day but throughout all of that everyone’s support for one another never wavered. Whether you chose to sit it out or tough it out someone was there to support you and let you know that what you were doing was amazing and admirable. It’s a pretty incredible community I’ve joined.
So, the biggest thing I’m taking away from this week is the incredible support we all have for one another despite only knowing each other for a week. It’s really a wonderful reminder of how much kindness there is in this world despite what we might always hear about. I’m so happy I get to have all of these beautiful people in my little Fuller Center world and I look forward to having them as my roomies for the next 8 weeks.