Autumn Leaves, Dark Tunnels and Mishaps

Written by Patrick Smith

Wednesday was a very full day. We cycled 64 miles from Meyersdale, PA to Paw Paw, WV. I actually put in some extra miles, but we will talk about that later. The weather was fantastic and the autumn leaves where everywhere; on the trees and on the trail. Taking in the trees, the hills, the water and views from varies outlooks on the trail was amazing. Another highlight of the day included Chick Fe La for lunch, courtesy of Mike Rutherford, thanks Mike. We also saw some reenactors in 17 century attire.

What I was most excited about today was the fact that we would be going through tunnels. While we had gone through some short tunnels previously, there would be real tunnels, tunnels so dark and long that you couldn’t see without a flashlight, cold and damp tunnels that made you feel like you were biking through a cave. This really excited me because as a kid I was always into Halloween and exploring dark and creepy places, so this was an extra treat for me!
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Scenic Rides with New Friends

Written by: Mike Rutherford 

The team had a great overnight at the Faith Bible Church on Monday night and the chore teams were getting used to the daily routines of breakfast duty, church cleaning, trailer loading, and most importantly snack preparation. A beautiful dawn sky foretold a day of plentiful sunshine and light breezes.

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Our Pittsburgh Build Day

Written by: Melinda Holloway

When we drove up to the house of the West family in Wilkensburg, PA with our porch post and gutters to “fix” their drainage problem, I saw right away that this home, that at one time would have been one of the more well to do homes in the neighborhood, had sadly drifted into disrepair. The Wests were older folk with grown children, but who had taken in and adopted three younger children ten years earlier. Mr. West was much older than Mrs. West and had severe arthritis so he could not do the much-needed work. The Pittsburgh Project, a local housing non-profit group, had begun to help the Wests with their house issues and we with the Fuller Center Bike Adventure had shown up on this day to help out wherever we could. There were three families with homes that needed immediate help, so we split up into groups and went out into the greater Pittsburgh area to find our families.

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Featured Fundraiser: Crystal Anderson

Crystal Anderson, a first-time FCBA rider from Richmond, Virginia, has raised lots of money this year – and she even seems to be having fun while doing it! Crystal will be trekking from Pittsburgh, PA to Washington, D.C. with FCBA’s new off-road “Dirt to D.C.” ride in September 2017. With almost $1,000 raised, Crystal has already gone above and beyond her minimum fundraising goal of $750, and is now shooting for $3,500!

Read more about Crystal’s ride – and consider donating to her campaign – at:


FCBA: Why did you decide to join the Fuller Center Bike Adventure this year?

CRYSTAL: “There are many wonderful charitable organizations in the U.S. and worldwide, so it can be difficult to choose where to dedicate personal time and resources. I hope to win the lottery some day so that I can make meaningful contributions to more than one organization per year. In the meantime, I have to choose, and the Fuller Center for Housing won my heart and my commitment.

I have several friends who volunteer with the Fuller Center for Housing and mentioned how amazing the organization is. From the main website and social media, I felt the Fuller Center mission aligned with my values. After visiting the main website, I happened upon the Fuller Center Bike Adventure site and found the information to be thorough, transparent, and very helpful. They just made it so easy to say, “I want to do this!”

And then there is the challenge of it all – the challenge of fundraising (which I’ve never really considered myself to be good at) and the challenge of 350 miles (I’m only just now getting active again after a 2-3 year hiatus). I just love that I can challenge myself in ways that I haven’t before – all while supporting such a great mission and organization – as well as all those friends out there who are building with the Fuller Center. I’m so excited!!”


FCBA: We heard you like to ride your bike in your office…is that helping you fundraise?

CRYSTAL: “I purchased a FitDesk 2.0 during Amazon Prime Day last year – I got it for a steep discount (this isn’t advertising, rather it is just informative for anyone else who may be interested in the details).

I sit a lot – I mean, a lot. At least 8-12 hours each weekday for work and approximately another 10+ hours a week in my car are “sitting hours.” The FitDesk is a stationary bike with a sturdy desk on top, and it allows me to keep moving at times when I otherwise would not move. It has been helping me train – and yes, fundraise also.

During the February Fundraising Fiesta, I took the FitDesk to work for 2 days for an awareness campaign and fundraising effort. Most of my donations to-date were made during those 2 days. And while not everyone who stopped by ultimately donated, I know that they learned about an organization they were not previously aware of – the Fuller Center for Housing.”


FBCA: What other strategies/methods have worked well for you so far?

CRYSTAL: “Reaching out to specific people by email has worked for me. I started by contacting people I know are like-minded with respect to charitable giving and volunteering, and I branched out from there. The FitDesk awareness and fundraising effort also has been most helpful. I may have to consider taking it to a public place in the future – to see if I can’t gain some media attention for the Fuller Center 🙂

I’m still kind of new to fundraising (in any major way), so I’m sure I will learn a lot more in the process. I will continue to try to think of new/creative approaches. My best ideas may be the ones I haven’t thought of yet. A yard sale? A dance event to benefit the Fuller Center?”


FCBA: Can you offer any final tips for our other Bike Adventurers as they kick their fundraising campaigns into high-gear this spring?

CRYSTAL: “My tip: consider your workplace and your colleagues. There may be certain protocols in your workplace that you have to follow in order to send emails, to hang posters, or to ride a FitDesk, but there are potential exponential benefits of trying. Colleagues may end up being your best supporters, and many employers will match your colleagues’ donations (by some specific %). Exponential benefits!”

A Note From Your Trip Leader

If you’ve made it this far, you are probably either 1) already registered for the Dirt to D.C. ride or 2) strongly considering making FCBA a part of your life in 2017. Either way, I’m glad you found our blog! This will be the most happening place on the world wide web, where real-live riders will share testimonials, sweet memories, and probably some random anecdotes from their epic journey. Once the ride kicks off in September, I hope you will check back with us often as you read and share our colorful stories from the road.

As for me? My name is Henry, and I will be serving as the Trip Leader for the first-ever Dirt to D.C. ride this year. I rode across the country with FCBA in 2016, which was the best life decision I’ve ever made! I was a graduate student when I began in Seattle… but had decided to become a volunteer with the Fuller Center by the time we finished in Washington, D.C.! I honestly couldn’t pull myself away from the wonderful mission and community that had been such an integral part of my summer experience.

Now, I want to contribute in some meaningful way to helping people have that same experience for themselves. So…here I am, back for more! This year, I can’t wait to catch a glimpse of the Appalachian mountains on a fresh fall morning, to sweat a little during our build day in Pittsburgh, and to break bread with our gracious church hosts along the way. Most importantly, I’ll be doing all of this with plenty of good people, and in the service of a truly worthy mission. It’s easy to see why I’m thankful every morning that I get to do this for a living! Oyee!

Welcome to the Dirt to D.C. Blog!

Hey, FCBAer! You have found the page where our Dirt to D.C. riders will share their stories as they travel from Pittsburgh to the District of Columbia. Check back as they start their journey on September 16!