Right Where We Should Be

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.

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A Little Rolling Community

Written By: Matt Rivers

The 61 miles to Tougaloo College today made for a great finishing ride.  The roads were largely flat, the wind was fairly calm, and, most importantly, the rain stayed away.  The views as we swept around the lake for the last 10 miles or so were spectacular, and I think we all slowed just a little to savor those last few miles.

The last day on the road is done.  No more pedaling.  No more tire spray from the tire in front of you.  Just one last night of sleeping on the floor.  It may sound trite to say, but ending the ride is more than just a little bittersweet.  Although there’s no question we’re all looking forward to returning home to a long, hot shower and a good night’s sleep on a REAL mattress, I know we’re all also going to miss the rest of the group.  Our little rolling community.


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Tandem Conversations

Written By: Steve and Sara Dobbs

We’ve had the pleasure of doing the FCBA 2015 Spring Ride on a tandem. For the most part, our experience is the same as the rest of the group, but riding the Natchez Trace on a tandem is different in a few key ways: First of all, the uphills can definitely be a little more challenging (extra weight) and the downhills fly by a little more quickly. And even if you haven’t been on a tandem before, you can imagine that it takes some extra communication, coordination, and trust in each other to ensure a smooth ride. Here’s a sampling of conversations during our ride this week:

“Nice job on that hill, Babe! What did you eat for breakfast?” (Positive encouragement from the Captain always pays off with extra effort by the Stoker!)

tandem 1

“When I’m 87, I want to be biking like Jack!” Jack, our 87 year-old “youngster” on the trip has inspired us and the entire group as well. The two of us hope to be snowboarding and skiing into our 70s, and now, we think our new goal should be to participate in a biking/mission trip when we’re well into our 80s like Jack.

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Bike. Speak. Build!

Written By: Alyssa Koziol 
“Bike. Speak. Build.”
That’s the Fuller Center motto we carry on the back of our shirts and jerseys. We have perfected the biking and speaking this week, but today we finally were able to utilize the last word – build.
Alyssa Blog #2
We have had the pleasure of staying at Parkway Baptist church in Houston, MS for two nights. And they have been gracious hosts. After starting the day off with a delicious breakfast of eggs, bacon, cheesy grits, biscuits and gravy and fruit we headed out to First United Methodist Church in Water Valley, MS for our build day.

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Much More Than A Bike Ride

Written By: Renee McCullough

We began today’s ride after hearing the story of the Rag Man for our morning devotional.  In this story, a man trading “old rags” for “new rags” takes on himself the sorrows, physical wounds, and addictions of others in order to give them hope, healing, and freedom – and eventually dies as a result.  This is a simple but moving analogy of what Jesus did for us by taking our sins on himself so that we might have new life in Him.  It was also a good reminder on this mid-point of the ride of our main purpose – to give of ourselves to others as we serve in Jesus’ name.

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Friendship Road

Written By: Macy Holsinger and Paul Richards

Riding somewhere between 90 and 100 miles gives you plenty of time to think, unless you have the opportunity to spend that time talking with wonderful cycling companions. One of the highlights of Fuller Center’s spring ride down the Natchez trace is the chance to re-kindle old friendships and build new ones. Riders and support volunteers have traveled from all over the United States to participate in this ride. Alaska, Florida, and Ohio are just a portion of the states represented. The unique format of the trip, indoor camping and breaking into chore teams, allows participants to get to know one another on a deeper level and solidify friendships early on in the week. Then, extra-long, strenuous rides provide the opportunity to put those friendships to the test. Thankfully we can report that today the friendships passed with flying colors.

Friendship Road

Today’s ride began considerably earlier than the previous day and was considerably wetter. Shortly after leaving Collinwood, TN the rain began to fall rather steadily, thoroughly soaking all of the riders. Thankfully, this dark cloud had two silver linings. The first 25 miles were almost all downhill and the rain stopped within a few hours. In fact, several riders made the comment that it turned out to be perfect weather for cycling: not too hot and not too cold.Continue reading

April Showers

Written By: Diane Bies

Today was another beautiful day on the Trace.  No, we didn’t really have sunshine; in fact it drizzled a little off and on today.  But the real rain held off until all the riders were in and settled at the church for the most part.  The temperature was a warm 70 degrees or so which is about perfect on the rolling terrain we are riding.  No rain gear was necessary although I did carry mine in my back pocket all day thus protecting all the other riders and myself.

The day started with a wonderful breakfast provided by the generous people of Shady Grove United Methodist Church.  They came in early to make us biscuits and sausage and scrambled eggs.  It is so heartwarming to be with these fine people who “enter the mission field” each time they leave their church building.  They inspire each of us to truly live God’s way.

shady grove

As we pedaled down the Trace today we were greeted by the sound of birds in the trees, squirrels running across the road and playing on the side, some wild turkeys strutting along the roadway, and cows that “mooed” as we rode past.  As to wildlife, the highlight of the day, if you will, was seeing an armadillo lying in the road.  Not that a roadkill armadillo is good to see, but seeing an armadillo in Tennessee is an interesting phenomenon.   I am used to opossums but not armadillos.  Continue reading

A Wonderful Beginning

Written By: Michael Rae, Martha Uhler, and Jim Sperks
Today the Fuller Center Spring ride begins in earnest. The goal is almost 400 miles of biking from Nashville, TN to Jackson, MS along the Natchez Trace. Our home for the last two nights has been the Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Nashville, TN. The church treated us to a wonderful lasagna (meat or vegetarian) dinner on Saturday nigh ensuring we’d have plenty of energy as we begin this biking adventure. Some of the best moments on this ride will be meeting the kind and good people of the host churches, learning about their home mission projects while they hear of the good work being done by the Fuller Center.
Supper at Trinity
Our Sunday morning wake up call came about 7am and we packed up gear, pumped tires and sat down to a continental style breakfast.  We then joined the church’s congregation for their morning worship service where the theme was “The ripple effects of the resurrection”.The sermon was a perfect send off for the Fuller Center riders, each of whom is hoping to create a ripple by having raised a minimum of $750 to participate in this ride with the money going to help build and repair homes both in the US and internationally.

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The Real Reason

Written by: Lydia Huelskamp

Two months or 59 days or 1,416 hours until our first ride of 2015. To say that I’m excited would be a huge understatement. I moved down to Americus, GA in September with the sole responsibility of making sure the spring and summer rides are planned and go as smoothly as possible. As the riders continue to sign up and the funds from generous donors begin to come in it is easy to get bogged down with the planning and the logistics of the ride. For this reason I wanted to take a step back and remind myself and all of those involved the real reason we do this.

“If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.” -1 John 3:17-18


2014 Was One in a Million

As the year comes to an end many of us find ourselves looking back and reflecting on where we’ve been, where we’ve come, and everything that has happened since our last yearly reflection. Well, the Fuller Center Bike Adventure is no different. We also like to take a moment to stop and look back on the year and everything that has occurred. And what a year 2014 has been! Let’s take a look at some of the highlights of this year of adventure:

-We had our third annual Spring ride. 33 cyclists came out to ride 380 miles on the Natchez Trace Parkway, and built stairs for 11 houses as part of a project to get families into unused Hurricane Katrina cottages!

-Our 7th annual Summer ride took us on a Northern route from Atlantic City, New Jersey to Astoria, Oregon. A total of 105 riders joined us for some portion of this journey with 18 riders going the whole way.

-Along the summer route we reached our ONE MILLION DOLLAR goal! The news was a cause for a celebration for everyone who has ever ridden with FCBA, reminding us that every little donation and every mile pushed through got us here.Continue reading