By Tim Bruce
So ends our first week of cycling from Laguna Beach, Florida to Hammond — a grand total of 354 miles for those who have cycled every mile along the way. Indeed, some have cycled even farther to achieve personal goals such as century rides in a day.
We have experienced some of the most amazing scenery and architecture, seen the most amazing beaches and met some fabulous people along the way, but now our focus will shift to the very core of what The Fuller Center for Housing is all about. The cycling is, in reality, a fundraising mechanism to help people access good quality homes and recover from homelessness and/or seeing their homes destroyed by natural disasters. Whilst we are all keen cyclists, all of us are aware of why we are riding, and we share a passion about supplying good quality homes to those in most need.
Having focused on cycling hundreds of miles, tomorrow we turn our attention to two days of construction work on people’s homes.
In the meantime, the following outlines our final day of cycling and the 51 miles from Christ Episcopal Church, Slidell to First Christian Church, Hammond:
We all set off together and, before long, we were on the Tammany Trace where we had 11 miles of perfectly flat pavement to cycle on without any lorries or cars passing by. This allowed us more time absorb the wonderful scenery.
At the Trailhead we found our first refreshment stop in Mandeville and already the temperature was on its way up to 76 degrees. We had another 14 miles on the shoulder of LA22 and part way along we found our second refreshment stop at mile 34 before the final 17 miles to Hammond
On arrival at the church, we were greeted with great enthusiasm and treated to the Louisiana’s most famous fruit, Strawberries, as well as popsicles (ice lollies).
So why have we cycled here?? What’s the story behind Hammond?
Well, on the 29th August 2021, Hurricane Ida was a deadly and destructive Category 4 Atlantic hurricane that became the second-most damaging and intense hurricane to make landfall in the state of Louisiana, behind only Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The town of Hammond was particularly impacted and The Fuller Center continues to work with local partners to address the needs of those who have struggled to cope with the full extent of the devastation.
We are here to build and repair homes, but our real desire is that we build and restore hope.