By Kert Emperado
This is my eighth year participating in the Fuller Center Bike Adventure, which has always given me perspective and a refocusing back to simple living. Our possessions are limited to our bikes, a bag of cycling gear and a couple sets of clothes for work/build days. We sleep on floors, cook and eat together and talk mostly about biking and what our lives are like beyond this adventure. For some of us, we come back to reunite with our friends turned family, to reminisce about our past FCBA trips, and the life happenings in between them. And of course, meeting new riders who have dreamt about riding across the country, is always a fresh dose of infectious energy and enthusiasm.
Today, we pedaled from our host church, First Baptist Church of Amelia Island, to Peters Point Beachfront Park, where we enjoyed the ocean breeze and took some solo and group pictures. This is especially momentous for the whole-way riders who are beginning this 10-week, ~3,750-mile journey to Florence, Oregon. The bike riding back to the church was at a relaxed pace with continued nice comfortable Florida weather. I did however get a flat tire, which was later discovered was from a sharp metal piece that looked like a staple. If I had to have a flat, I was glad it was today. Not only was this the shortest riding day (11.5 miles), it happened just a couple miles from the church. In addition, although I’ve changed many flat tires in the past, I have been fortunate not to have a flat for a couple of years, so my skills have less practiced. Turns out I also needed a new tire as well. Thanks to Neil, our trip leader, who also happens to be a bike mechanic, for providing me with a replacement tire, and for making some adjustments to my front brakes and wheel for a smoother ride.
In the evening, we enjoyed a taco, burrito dinner prepared by the dinner team. It was delicious! After dinner, Ryan and Neil led the continuation of the bike adventure orientation, which was focused on bike safety. Ryan further reviewed the history of the Fuller Center and how it started in Koinonia farm in rural Georgia. I’ve heard the story many times before, but I still enjoy hearing and learning about the mission of the Fuller Center to help partner with people to become homeowners of a simple decent place to live.