Written by: Diane Bies
Today was the start of the 2015 Summer Fuller Center Bicycle Adventure, at least the official riding part started today. After a wonderful breakfast provided by our amazing host in Carlsbad, California, Faith Community Church, we started our adventure with a short ride up the coast to the Oceanside Pier where we dipped our rear wheels in the Pacific Ocean before we, the team, headed east off to Portland, Maine to dip their front wheels in the Atlantic Ocean in 10 weeks. (I am not a whole way rider and won’t be there in Portland.)
As we left the pier our day’s journey took us to Temecula and the Temecula United Methodist Church. Our ride was only 50 miles today but it was a quite rolling 50 miles. The scenery was beautiful, the wind was kind most of the time, the hills were not too bad, and the sun was not too awfully hot. All the riders made it in safely as well which is a very important thing! The showers were great and the dinner served by our hosts was both plentiful and delicious. Another positive feature of the day was that all the riders bonded well and seemed to share the dayriding together in groups caring for each other and having fun.
Sounds perfect, right? Well, the other side of the story could be told with some of the many challenges I have experienced as part of getting here on the ride. I even had to question if I was supposed to be here or not! All of my responsibilities at home have been mounting lately. I came down with an illness the day before I was to head out on my journey. I spent the whole day and night in bed feeling awful! The travel part was uneventful which was encouraging. Then when I did arrive and started to assemble my bike I found I had lost a pedal in transit. That problem was solved by a trip to Performance Bike and purchasing a new set of pedals which fit my cleats so it was quite a simple fix. (Well it was simple since I found out early enough and was able to get to the bike shop at 7:45, before they closed at 8, and they had exactly what I needed.) Then, I had trouble with my front hub and the skewer to my front wheel. Topping it all off was that my front forks got a bit bent in transit and had to be fixed by Mike Weiser, the team mechanic, who proved to be an amazing blessing to me with my many repair needs. Then as we gathered after breakfast I remembered I had packed my bike gloves in my bag which was buried in the trailer. Again, I found them with minimal effort and all was fine. I must say I did not look forward to starting the ride today with quite a bit of trepidation as to what message God was trying to send to me.
Before we pulled out the pastor prayed for us after sharing a devotional with us. I felt personally blessed by his prayers for us this morning and I suppose I was, as were all the other riders. I finally understood there was quite a different message, or reminder, being sent my way. I remember now that God will continue to solve my many problems, take care of me along the way, bless me always, and bring plenty of sunshine my way. He has encircled me again, this is my sixth Fuller Center Bicycle Adventure, with wonderful people who are riding and supporting this 2015 adventure. Though I must go home after this week, I do get to rejoin the team later this summer as they trek across America and hit the Midwest. This team will be a real family by then, as we are well on our way after only one day.
That brings me to the real reflection of what an amazing event this is! Every year many riders join the Fuller Center Bicycle Adventure, for whatever reason, and leave as changed people. This ride is a family event and the family keeps growing! The work we will do as we cross the country, the people we will serve, and the many people who serve us and our mission are such blessings! There will be stories shared, tears shed, many smiles and much laughter along the way. God will be watching over this team all summer long and long after that. I would guess most of the riders will find their way back to another Fuller Center Bicycle Adventure and or Fuller Center build opportunity in time. It is such a great time to reunite with old family and meet new family members as well. The home projects we do will touch so many people in so many ways. Lives will be changed! What a great summer this is going to be!! We are blessed!!