It’s about the people

Written by: Kim Eisenbarth
 
 
I joined this version of the Fuller Family in West Yellowstone, on Sunday for the next two weeks.   The past three days have been among the most challenging of my Fuller experience.   (and this installment will make the 13th week I have had the privilege of riding with these folks).  

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Rough rides, rejuvenating people

Written by: Jeff Bracken

 

Greetings from Pocatello, ID!  Last week, we rode through rain, sleet, hail, and snow.  Yesterday we rode (several of us walked) through 15 miles of rocks, mud, and thick sand (yes, that means people actually walked almost 15 miles, myself included).  Today, we set out for our 88 mile ride with the temperature in the low 40s, and a few miles in, it starts to rain a little. “Seriously??? Can we catch a break,” I vented to myself.  And then we did. The sky cleared, the temps rose to high 60s/low 70s, and we rode on beautiful back country roads with vast farmlands all around, reminding me of back home in KY, except without the hills.  

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Time to breathe

Written by: Tim Bruce

We had our first day off since gathering together as a team on 7th June and Sunday 16th was our first day off to make our own arrangements for breakfast, lunch and dinner and decide how to make use of the hours. In addition, we needed to say farewell to 3 much-loved members of the team over the weekend, having previously lost Ryan Iafigliola when he returned home from Spokane on Friday.
Ryan had led the devotional times before we started off on our rides and shared his passion for the Fuller Center for Housing as part of our times together. Having known Millard Fuller, the founder of both Habitat for Humanity and the Fuller Center for Housing, his insights were both inspirational and authoritative. Since Ryan has left us others from the group have shared their insights and thoughts and it has been both moving and provocative as people have bared their hearts and shared their passions. Making yourself vulnerable can often been seen as being weak but I have to say; No, it is a strength!! Sharing your heart and knowing that you are in a safe place to do so, brings both encouragement to yourself and strength to others as they identify with what you share. In the scriptures, reference is often made to the need for humility, and this again is so that you can gain strength (1 Peter 5:6). Likewise, in the workplace, knowing that you can make a mistake and be free to admit it, brings security to employees so it can be seen as a learning process and not a cause for attributing blame. It strikes me that we could all do with a bit more humility and vulnerability in society. For the group of us cycling across America, it has made us a very cohesive and supportive team!!

I went to church in the morning as it was Sunday but I had to admit that I was very tired and struggled to concentrate at times but it was good to sing some songs I knew and let the vocal cords take the strain, rather than my legs. I also went shopping in a supermarket in Kellogg and discovered the delights of the food stuffs available to American households and there is plenty of choice, particularly when it came to peanut butter!! However, the shop had a different feel to a supermarket in England. In England is all about value for money and finding a bargain, whereas the feel in America is about abundance with the food shouting “Buy Me, I’ll taste fantastic!” In particular, in the fruit and veg section, where there was a chorus of large succulent apples gleaming under the lights and large white, yellow and red
onions playing a hypnotic symphony about how good they would taste in a stew, salad or curry! In England, there are bags or packages of apples or a box of onions to choose from and price will often determine what and how much we buy. Having said this: Well done England for no longer supplying
plastic bags, but America is planning to do this soon too.
Unsurprisingly, I did not walk out of the shop with a lorry-full of food and supplies but I did pick up a
spare pair of reading glasses and some much-needed deodorant!
Back on the bike tomorrow.

Community

Written by: Susan Pratt

Day 9 Superior to Deerlodge 

Leaving Superior was tough for me.  I remember the community at the United Methodist Church there well.   In 2016, I spoke with the church to see if they would host us. They were more than pleased to and were happy to share there gift of cooking….a sausage, carrot, potato dish cooked in a milk jug.  It was amazing.  Then, pancakes in the morning.    I really felt as if I was home! 

First, I must mention that yesterday I woke up in a very bad mood (things going on at home).  God works in mysterious ways.  Not only did he plan to have a deer waiting in the middle of the road (yes, it did finally run off) and two mules which ran up to be pet (and did I ever pet them), but also that Jonathan rode with me to the first rest stop.  He was so delighted to be in front and even more excited to ride in first.  His joy was contagious and helped me to be in the moment and forget about all that was happening at home. 

Today, there were several times when tears welled up in my eyes.  I felt horrible that Tim discovered that one of his spokes was broken.  He is the kindest of gentleman and has put his heart into this trip, both the physical challenge and the sharing of his sweat equity to help eliminate poverty housing.  Every pedal is an effort to help others.  With a broken spoke, he was unable to.  However, God blesses us with gifts that present themselves in the strangest of places.  Bill and Tim changed the spoke as a team.  As each and every spoke on the wheel is vital to make it roll, so is every person on this adventure.  Bill used his expertise in removing disc brakes and cassettes, while Tim changed a spoke for the first time.  With no experience, the two changed Tim’s spoke as if this was an ordinary task.  Phenomenal teamwork.  When I heard he was on the road, yes, those tears started coming!  In the meantime, the sweeps stayed behind, watching and waiting to start the ride.  Way to go.  Tears welling in my eyes again! 

The ride was incredible.  I mostly rode alone because I knew I wanted to take several photos.   Meadows of yellow flowers, tracks, a river and snow capped mountains.  Yes, there is nothing like Montana.  We had to detour because of a mudslide (but some of the riders chose the original route).  Jeff did a remarkable job chalking the change.   Jeff is one of the most gifted cyclist I have ever seen…he is ever so humble and is always in front, but never misses chalking.   

Every single cyclist on this team plays such a huge part on this adventure.  During Jeff’s devotion this morning, he stated that when people spend so much time together, conflicts occur.  But, in this group, I see nothing but encouragement, compassion, passion for helping others, kindness and love.  Thank you all for crossing that threshold, stepping (or shall I say cycling) into the unfamiliar in order to lend a helping hand to those in need.  You are all a special people. 

Perspective of a returning rider

Written By: Bill Turner 
 
Bog 6-18-19 Seattle to DC 
 
Hello to all!! 463 miles done, 23,445ft of climbing in 7 days, ugh, I am tired just writing it. However, all done for a wonderful cause and fun at least 80% of the time. We have been riding for over a week, the scenic beauty has been wonderful even in the Seattle area. No rain until yesterday, when thunder, wind and a down-poor caught many of us without rain gear and needing to find safe shelter till the storm left. Pretty amazing to see the storm on a smart phone and have a good idea of what is going on and when you might get a break. It is now hot most days with above average temperatures, however it is predicted that we are in for a big change when we get to West Yellowstone this coming weekend, with a chance or rain or snow showers. I have not parted with my warm base layer wool cloths yet so they may come in handy in three days. I am again having a wonderful time riding with a few friends from previous Fuller Rides and making many new ones of various ages and from various areas of he USA and one rider from England. Riding with a team remains a real joy. I am starting some new friendships on this trip. If you would like to read an interesting blog go toWWW.timbrucemusic.com and click on his blog page. Tim is from England and this ride is his retirement present to himself. His humor and language is fun to experience in person or in print. We have several other antique riders like myself or older and a mix of others from the youngest of 23.
 
I have not swept with this group yet, however God and I did 2 short morning devotion sessions that appeared to go reasonably well. Riding with the team has been a joy, the chore groups have worked well and we have been fed by churches a lot and had a few wonderful meals when we were not being hosted by a church for a meal.
 
It is exciting to again be a part of a FCBA team of riders that will likely raise in the range of $300,000 to $400,000 to support hand-up improvements to poverty housing in the USA and Globally. Thank you all who support this effort. With a bit of blessing from the Lord, I was notified yesterday there will soon be a Fuller Center Covenant Partner in the Windham, Maine area. You can visit my fundraising page at FullerCenter.DonorPages.com/2019BikeAdventure/WilliamTurner19
Thanks for reading, Bill Turner.

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Becoming a family

Written by: Larry Cooper

It’s been a week since we met in Seattle to commence our FCBA Seattle to Washington D.C. cross-country bike ride. Most of the 35 support staff and riders had never before met, and for many, this was their first FCBA Ride. Continue reading

A long rest before a long ride

Day 5: Wilbur to Spokane Valley

73.9 miles

1778 feet of climbing

Written by: Libby bauman

After two intense rides, today’s ride went by like a breeze. We left the cozy church in Wilbur early in the morning and cruised up and down hills along Route 2. A tailwind boosted our speed and our confidence at the beginning of the day.

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Yesterday’s challenge, today’s beast

Written By: Adam Thompson

Day 4: Sunnyslope to Wilbur

96 miles

5,368 feet of climbing

If yesterday was a great challenge, today was a beast!  It didn’t take long to warm up as the temperature reached the 90s with very few clouds. 

We had a nice ride through parts of Wenatchee and enjoyed views of the orchard-filled valley and Columbia river.  The route took us through a beautiful park with trails.  At one point a barricade was in place stating that the path was closed.  Rather than trying to find an alternate path, we promptly jumped the barricade and handed each other our bikes.  A groundsman was on the path and called law enforcement to report us.  As we came out on the other side of the forbidden path a park ranger had his siren lights on and threatened to fine us.   Elliott sweet talked us out of a fine by pulling the “charity organization” card.  Thanks Elliott!

Soon after we came to Pine Canyon which was a beautiful rocky, winding canyon with a small stream flowing with some greenery around it.  From the start of the canyon to Waterville we gained over 2000 feet in 10 miles.  Highway 2 turned into something that looked like a view out of the midwest, with rolling hills and wheat fields as far as you can see.  The road was nicely paved with swept shoulders, which made for a smooth ride.  After the 2nd rest stop we enjoyed a long downhill followed by a beautiful, sprawling gorge with scenery out of southern Utah.  The next hill took us up another steep hill and then more rolling farm land.  We passed an espresso shop after passing Banks Lake (which cooled the temp considerably).  A few of us indulged in a milkshake (Jeff got peach which reminded him of home). 

When we arrived at the Community Presbyterian church in Wilbur, we were graciously welcomed with a terrific meal and warm, loving community members.  They even gave us a big bag of quarters to take showers at the local campground.  The people here stayed to chat with us and hear stories about some of the projects that the Fuller Center is undertaking. 

Several people sagged at various points today but everyone gave an incredible effort on today’s challenging ride.Continue reading