Written by: Henry Downes, Orange Ride
Today was the first Build Day of the Bike Adventure, which gave us all
a much needed 24 hours of separation from our bike seats — which we
had come to know so well as we made our way from Seattle to Spokane.
Build Day 1 also gave us an important opportunity to work together as
a group in a non-cycling setting.
When curious strangers see the map on the back of our jerseys, or hear
about our ambition to ride 3,500 miles in 2 months, the reaction is
almost always the same: disbelief, followed by a lot of excitement.
For many of these people, the sheer fact that we have committed to
pedaling across the USA is a source of wonder; they think about the
number of miles, or the feet of elevation, or the many millions of
pedal strokes. These “measureables” are definitely important, but they
are not why I am proud (and more proud every day) to be a part of this
The real source of my pride is the spirit of community which is the
lifeblood of this whole journey. If you were to walk into one of our
host locations at about 7am before a ride, you would see a flurry of
activity. Some riders are filling water coolers to ensure every person
stays hydrated, or preparing snacks…some are washing dishes from
breakfast…some are fixing mechanical problems on others’
bicycles…some are vacuuming the floor…some are downloading GPS
routes onto Garmin devices to keep others from getting lost…some are
sorting laundry…and on it goes. Each person has a role. Each person
takes their role seriously, and moping/complaining is almost unheard
of. Each person is going above and beyond for the benefit of the
group. Together, everything gets done.
I’m convinced that the people here would be successful at anything
they do. Not because of their athletic prowess — but because of their
genuine decency and servant leadership. These people are great nurses,
lawyers, teachers, and business leaders in their own communities. You
can also tell that are great fathers and mothers, daughters and sons.
So, during the Build Day today, I should not have been surprised to
see these people working their hearts out to chop down weeds, paint
houses and clean up garbage by hand. This is what they do. This first
Build Day taught me that Fuller Center Bike Adventure is not simply a
summer trip for great cyclists, but is instead a radical re-imagining
of the way our communities can function when they are at their highest
So, as the days roll on, I find that the distance covered is not that
important to me. What matters most is that I get to share this
experience with some of the best people you’ll find anywhere.