By Henry Downes
As we get to the end of another FCBA summer, and think of returning home to our normal lives, I’ve been reflecting on those things which make the Bike Adventure such a unique and special experience.
When we spread the word about FCBA, almost everyone we meet agrees that the Bike Adventure is unique and special. People are amazed at how many miles we travel, how many mountains we climb, how many inner tubes we go through, etc. But for us on the ride, the cycling summary stats only tell a small part of the real story.
The Bike Adventure is really like nothing else because:
⁃of how much we can get accomplished in just one build day, with amateur builders!
⁃with everyone pitching in, and doing their part, we are able to set up and break down this traveling circus in 50+ locations across the US
⁃somehow, through pictures and videos, the media team is able to bring to life the scenes and landscapes that we experience in this beautiful country
⁃complete strangers open their doors (and their floors!) to us, and treat is like family
⁃we are a group of friends from all backgrounds, generations, regions and beliefs — this is not commonly found outside FCBA!
⁃our bodies prove to be stronger than we initially give them credit for — and our minds and our spirits, too
⁃we get to meet some of the best people along the way…people who feed us, fix our support vehicles in a pinch, offer us shelter during storms, and offer their love in countless other ways
⁃a group as incredibly different as we are can spend this much quality time together and still actually like each other when all is said and done…even through the hot days, the cold days, and the headwind-y days
⁃personally, in my time with FCBA, I’ve been able to experience all these amazing things with some of the people I love most.
I could go on. But perhaps the most incredible thing about the Bike Adventure: it proves that there is room for hope in the world. Room for hope because our riders took to heart the mission of the Fuller Center, and rejected the notion that our society’s problems are too big, too complex, to do anything about. Room for hope because we’ve shown new Fuller Center homeowners that they deserve a nice downhill after a long, hard uphill climb. Room for hope because together, we’ve raised enough to directly transform the lives of untold numbers of other families around the world, who can now have a simple, decent, and affordable place to call home.
And room for hope because of the many lives our riders touch along their way — people who probably think they are equal parts lunatic and hero, because they care so much about something that they are willing to ride their bikes around the entire United States for it.