Frequently Asked Questions
Here are a list of the questions we most frequently get asked by prospective riders. While the list is pretty comprehensive, it is not all-encompassing. If you have a question not listed, please feel free to contact a trip leader by using our Express Interest button below. We look forward to getting on the same page, and riding with you this summer!
In 2022, not only are we going to ride a cross country trip that will continue further north than any other bicycle adventure we have ever tackled, but we’ll also finish with a Fuller Center that was started directly out of one of our riders’ experiences with us, who went home and helped bring the Fuller Center to his area.
We’re also introducing a new Gulf Coast ride in the early spring that will focus on disaster recovery, and we’ll hold our Natchez Trace ride in the fall instead of the spring. Our new Underground Railroad route is our first south-to-north trip across the country with a lot of super bike routes and build days, so we hope it can become a regular feature.
In addition, we’re excited to be able to offer free bikes for use during the ride as part of our scholarship program! These are aimed at attracting first-time riders who are 26 and under.
And finally, we all know the world’s Covid situation continues to evolve. We’re holding rides with new Covid safety protocols, which can change if needed, but we’ll do our best to keep them steady and predictable. We do ask for all of our riders and support to be patient and understanding as those changes may unfold.
2022 may be our 15th year, but we know it will bring new friends and new adventures!
Absolutely. While The Fuller Center is unashamedly Christian, we welcome all people regardless of faith to support and participate in our work, and we place no religious requirements on our beneficiaries. We build with and for Hindus in Nepal, Buddhists in Sri Lanka and Muslims in Africa.
One should note, however, that for the sake of community, all riders are expected at least to be present for a number of faith-based aspects of the trip, such as morning devotions, Sunday worship services with our church hosts, prayer before meals, etc. As such, riders should at least be comfortable with these types of activities and surroundings and anticipate being respectfully present.
This is a personal decision that depends upon personal athleticism, fitness, biking experience and endurance. We have learned that those who are older (especially if inexperienced in cycling) typically require a greater amount of training to obtain the needed level of speed and endurance. We generally leave it to each rider to determine for themselves whether they will be in adequate physical condition for the event.
At a minimum, all riders should complete this training checklist on the bike they will bring to the ride:
- Whole Way riders should aim to complete 500+ miles of cycling on roads with vehicles
- Segment riders should complete 150+ miles of cycling on roads with vehicles
- Everyone should complete a ride of 50+ miles
- Everyone should have ridden in the rain at least once (if you plan to ride rain or shine with us)
You do not need to be Superman or a college athlete to join us, but you do need to get yourself into good physical condition and be comfortable riding on roads with vehicles and in wet conditions.
Be sure to check out our more elaborate training guide on the Tools for Riders page.
A road bike is strongly recommended, although riders in the past have used touring-style bikes and completed the ride. Recumbent riders have also completed the cross-country trip, although we do ask that you contact us directly at [email protected] if you plan to ride a recumbent bike or a trike. These bikes may place a few extra demands on our support team, so giving us a heads-up will ensure that we can accommodate you!
If you really want to complete one of our epic multi-week rides, but you don’t have a decent road bike –we understand, and better yet… we may be able to help you! Our scholarship program now offers first time riders without a suitable bike the opportunity to borrow a bike for the summer, with the option of making it yours to keep. Check out the scholarship program for more details. We have a Bike Assistance Program worked out with a shop local to us in Georgia.
No. Many of our riders have had very little experience cycling, and we want this event to be accessible for cyclists of a wide range of abilities. Also, while skilled volunteers on the work-site are incredibly valuable, even unskilled people can learn and contribute.
You must arrive on the first date listed for the trip or segment for which you are joining. Those joining at the start of the event will be given specific arrival instructions; segment riders must typically arrive by 4:00pm or earlier on the arrival day. More information will be posted to the Tools for Riders page and you will receive email updates from your Trip Leader as the ride draws nearer. For any questions contact [email protected]
Each rider is responsible for arranging his or her own transportation for where they join/exit the trip. The trip support vehicle can typically be used to get riders to/from local nearby transportation centers (bus, train, plane, etc.), but arrangements should be secured ahead of time with the trip leader ([email protected]). Those who arrive or depart at inconvenient hours such as very early mornings or on one of our ride days may be required to utilize other options such as Uber. You can also consider carpooling with another rider(s), which you can coordinate through our annual rider Facebook discussion group that we set up.
Most airlines, trains, and buses allow you to bring your bicycle with you for a fee. Airlines usually allow you to check your bike as luggage for a fee and as per their packing specifications. Check your airline’s baggage policy and/or call them ahead of time, and then bring your evidence (printed policy) with you to avoid any extra hassle from the attendant.
As your arrival date nears, we can also send you a shipping address to which you can ship your bike using any standard carrier (UPS, FedEx, Postal Service, etc). Take a look at our Shipping Your Bike page to learn about all the options you have when it comes to transporting your bike.
Due to space restrictions, you may ship your bike in a hard case or reusable box, but the carrying device must be shipped elsewhere after your arrival. No cases or reusable boxes will be carried in the trailer.
Room in our support trailer will be very tight, so unless you want to strap it to your back or to your bike (not recommended), each rider can bring 1 bag of 4,000 cubic inches or less. Your bag may not exceed 40 pounds in weight. Not sure the size of your bag? Measure the length, width, and height in inches, and then do the math:
Length x width x height = bag volume in cubic inches
Keep in mind you will be receiving two t shirts and at least one jersey, which you wear wear for most of your trip. We will make every effort to do laundry every 3rd day. The rider with the heaviest bag may or may not be required to carry a water bottle full of pennies with them on their bike, so pack carefully.
One exception: People bringing laptops may bring them in a separate laptop case/bag. Your laptop should be the only thing carried in this bag.
Yes! In general, our team is self-supported – we do daily chores like cooking, laundry, etc. as a team. However, we do need volunteers to do a couple of jobs that the cyclists can’t, and in the right situation we’re open to other ideas as well. Below are a couple of opportunities. If you’re interested, contact us!
Communications / Multimedia Intern:
Each summer we look for individuals to accompany us on our trips who will document the journey and tell our stories through videos, blog posts, photos, social media, etc. They’ll also help build local connections by contacting key media outlets along the way. This is a wonderful opportunity for someone looking to gain some hands on experience in the multimedia and communications field … and to have the adventure of a lifetime! Spreading awareness is one of the main purposes of the ride, which means this person will play a very important role in the overall success of this trip, and is a valued member of the team.
Drive our van:
We need someone to drive our van and trailer across the country this summer. You’ll be a member of the team and get to see all the same sights and have the same awesome journey of faith … just with a lot less strokes of the pedal!
Drive your own vehicle along with us:
In the right situation, we’d love to have you drive along with us for the summer ride. It’s a tremendous help to have extra support out there on the road; whether it’s an extra snack, a ride in a rainstorm, or just an extra word of encouragement for a tired rider, it makes a huge difference on a journey like this. You’ll be a big part of our mission, and an important member of the team … plus you’ll get to see this beautiful country and meet all the amazing folks we come across along the way! This support person would responsible for their own expenses, such as the cost of gas for their car. We’d love to talk with you about how it works, and invite you to join us for the adventure! Know that you would be loved and appreciated!
Yes…by you! While we do seek support volunteers (whom we love and adore!), the ride is truly carried by each member of the team. We have chore groups to spread the load of cooking, laundry, packing, cleaning, etc. Sometimes we have to rotate riders spending a day helping with the support vehicles. In other words, the ride is fully supported because we support each other. Perhaps a better term would be “community-supported.”
Do note, however, that a support vehicle pulling a small trailer will carry all our individual and group gear to our destination every day. See “How much stuff can I bring with me?” for baggage size limitation information.
Along the route, you need not carry any luggage on your bike, and we will have rest stops with snacks and water every 20 – 25 miles.
Probably not. As a team-focused ride, sometimes we have to give up personal goals for team goals. For example, when we have less than 4 support volunteers we may each have to take 1-3 turns in the support vehicle. (Those riding for only one segment are off the hook.) Also, riders may need to travel some miles by van due to weather, mechanical issues, safety concerns, speed/time issues, etc. It may help if you think of yourself as joining a team rather than conquering a personal feat.
Glad you asked. We hope to find a volunteer to drive the vehicle along with us for the whole trip, and often the best people to fill that role are friends or family of our cyclists (see “Do you have a need for any non-cyclists on the trip to support the riders?”). However if we do not find a driver, the riders will need to rotate through driving the vehicle according to an assigned schedule.
Laundry will be one of the tasks of the chore groups. We’ll typically do our laundry in Laundromats after every three riding days.
We will typically stay in churches, church camps or other community centers. We live simply in this way to ensure that as many dollars as possible go toward the mission, and sleeping within the community also is consistent with our ideal of being a grassroots ministry.
The trip will provide camping air/foam mats on which to sleep, or you may bring along your own air mattress. Any air mattress brought must be stored in the manufacturer’s bag.
Our average distance is usually about 70-75 miles with some days shorter and our longest being just over a hundred miles. We do not need to ride as a giant pack all day every day; riders are free to ride alone (but not alone at the back) or to break up into groups as they choose.
- 12 mph – moving average
- 10 mph – including stops
In order to keep the group relatively together, and advancing at a reasonable pace, riders joining for a segment or more should be able to maintain a moving average of at least 12 mph and be able to go 20-25 miles without long rests. After accounting for breaks at rest stops, riders should be comfortable with an elapsed time based average of 10 mph, meaning a 60 mile ride should take no more than 6 hours from start to finish. This pace allows for at least 20 minutes of rest for every 20 miles that you ride with the moving average of 12 mph.
Our speed requirements are not intended to be exclusive, but are meant to set transparent expectations in order to best accommodate the needs of the entire team. Maintaining the 10 mph elapsed time average pace affords the support crew the ability to meet the needs of the team as a whole during and after the ride, with rest stops, shuttles to showers, and timely arrival to dinner. Trip leadership may ask riders to start from the first rest stop, or skip a 20 mile segment between rest stops in order to keep the support crew moving at the minimum pace.
Note for riders gifted with speed: very fast riders may find that you reach the designated rest stop location ahead of our support vehicles, which await the final riders at the previous rest stop before departing. Fast riders should be prepared to wait at rest stop locations or self support towards the end of long ride days. However, since this is not a race, but a team on a mission to change the world, we hope our ride is an opportunity to bond together as a team for a common purpose!
Meals are prepared by rotating chore teams, or by generous hosts. Breakfast and lunch typically consist of cereals, bagels, bananas and other simple foods. Peanut butter is a real staple of the diet. The cost is covered by the trip.
Our trip commits to ensuring that dinner is provided by churches or chore groups 5-6 nights a week. Riders should anticipate the need to purchase their own dinner once or twice a week.
BONUS: If I’m vegetarian / vegan / gluten free / allergic to peanuts, will I starve?
We do our best to accommodate riders with varying dietary needs or restrictions. However, since many of our meals are provided by our generous church hosts, and since dietary needs vary widely even within a single trip, there may not always be the exact foods you’d choose for yourself to eat available at every meal. For those who abstain by choice, we would encourage you to eat what is served as much as possible.
If your dietary restrictions are extremely stringent, please let us know so we can discuss the best way to accommodate them, and know that you may have to plan to supplement your meals on your own.
Peanut butter and bread are regular staples of our rest stop food (lunch). We can typically supplement with other foods, but if your allergies are highly sensitive such that any contact or traces of them can cause you to have a severe reaction, please know that we cannot totally control all cross contamination on the road. In such cases, please discuss with us carefully ahead of time so that you can determine if or how you may be able to safely participate.
We do our best to accommodate riders with varying dietary needs or restrictions, but generally have meals specially prepared aimed only for accommodating vegetarians and those with no restrictions. We eat well!
But since many of our meals are provided by our generous church hosts, and since dietary needs vary widely even within a single trip, there may not always be the exact foods you’d choose for yourself to eat available at every meal. For those who abstain by choice, we would encourage you to eat what is served as much as possible.
For those with more restrictive diets-by-necessity (i.e. gluten-free and dairy-free), you will be able to add simple cost-effective items to the shopping list that are found at standard grocery stores that will be purchased for you — guidance and approval will be at the trip leader’s discretion, our goal is to live simple so others can simply live. We are not able to offer special accommodations for diets-by-choice (i.e. paleo, keto, atkins, etc.) and may not be able to meet complex diet requirements, but we hope you will be able to find what you need from among our various food options, or you may supplement our meals with your own purchases.
For those with nut allergies, we confess that peanut butter is a regular staple among our rest stop foods (lunch). While you should be able to find ample other foods to eat, if your allergies are highly sensitive such that any contact or traces of nuts even on packaging can cause you to have a severe reaction, please know that we cannot totally control all cross contamination on the road. In such cases, please discuss with us carefully ahead of time so that you can determine if or how you may be able to safely participate.
Yes. In preparing mentally for an event like this, the team aspect can be easily overlooked. To reach our goal, however, we need to work together; divide and conquer the task before us.
Some riders may be asked to serve as full-time “experts” on a certain area (such as grocery shopping, bike maintenance, etc.), while others will be put into groups that will rotate from chore to chore.
When possible, we try to find hosts that have showers onsite. Other times we will arrange for the team to use showers at a local school or community center, and occasionally participants may have to pay for showers at YMCAs or other public facilities. The types of showers can range from the bathroom in a local church member’s home to the typical gym shower, and when all else fails, we look for a garden hose to let people “hose off.” (That’s why we call this an “adventure”!)
No problem. The support vehicle should be able to pick up you and your bike. We are not going to abandon you! Of course, for logistical reasons, we need our riders to participate expecting to be able to complete the mileage, and if you are frequently unable to do so, we will ask you to plan your start/stops to be at designated rest stops as much as possible instead of at random points of the road where you may have ‘run out of gas.’
Define “free time.” Every day, you will get to spend hours just riding a bike. As for how much time will you have for relaxing, exploring, etc., it will depend on a number of factors. For instance, the length of the day’s ride, the speed at which we completed it, the number and length of rest stops along the way, the amount of tire or mechanical issues that may have slowed down the group, how many pictures we stopped for, where the showers are located, etc.
There will be group activities in the evening, like dinner, a presentation, chores, weekly group meeting, etc., but we do make it a priority to allow folks to just “do their thing.”
We will first start off by saying that there really isn’t a typical day on the Bike Adventure as each day presents new and exciting challenges. Also, with factors like weather, terrain, riding distance, shower logistics, church hosts, etc., it’s always hard to give exact times or details regarding the day so riders need to remain flexible. With all that said, here is an example of a ride day which should give you a general idea of what to expect.
5:30 a.m.: Wake-up, get dressed, and pack your personal gear.
6 a.m.: Breakfast is served. Complete your morning chore tasks (clean church, pack coolers, etc.) and get your bike ready to go.
7 a.m.: Gather outside for route meeting, brief devotion and general overview of the day.
7:15 a.m.: Depart for the day’s adventure! Rest stops will be set up every 20-25 miles for riders to get snacks, refill water bottles and take a quick breather.
Ride your bike!
2:30 p.m.: Arrive in town. Perhaps stop for a milkshake or a burger.
3 p.m.: Arrive at host location. Help unpack trailer, unload coolers and get ready to head to showers.
3:30 p.m.: Head to showers! Generally within walking/biking distance or a short van ride away.
6 p.m.: Supper is served either by church hosts or chore group. If the church is providing supper, they will generally allow us to give a little presentation on our ride and the Fuller Center.
9:30 p.m.: Lights out!
We understand that this is an important and sensitive subject to folks, and we try to be as accommodating as possible within our logistical constraints and desire to be with our hosts.
Typically, all of our riders will be strongly encouraged to attend church with whoever happens to be hosting us. For many, it has proven to be an opportunity to explore branches of the Christian faith to which they have never before been exposed. Depending on the city we are in, we may have riders split up between a couple different churches to allow us to meet more people and spread the word about what we are doing.
As part of the registration fee, riders will receive one Fuller Center jersey. (You are on your own for shorts/spandex.) Also if you reach the $1,000 fundraising level before January 1st you will get an additional jersey for free! You also have the option to purchase another one for $40 during registration.
Riders joining our team for more than a day must wear the Fuller Center jersey. It makes us easily identifiable, helps us spread the word and makes us look like a team.
You may also purchase a Bicycle Adventure jersey from a past ride for lower prices.
Riders will stay with the group in the host facility to allow for seamless communication among the team and to foster community spirit.
There are a number of ways your friends and family can follow the journey and stay in touch!
Fundraising and Costs
We try to keep the ride as affordable for the cyclist as possible, see our registration fee schedule here:
In addition to the food and support along the ride, paying the fee also means that you’ll receive one Fuller Center jersey and a t-shirt. (You are on your own for shorts/spandex.) Keeping in mind that we will do laundry every three days, riders can opt to pay an additional $40 for another jersey.
To ensure that our ride impacts those in need, all participants must meet a minimum fundraising requirement to participate. This fundraising requirement varies depending on the route you choose and the length of your ride:
Remember that each rider sets their own fundraising goal, so you may want to consider choosing an amount even higher than our minimum! High goals help you and your supporters think big. You will be responsible for your minimum requirement, but will not be required to fill in the gaps if you run short of a high goal.
Our team goal is $400,000 which brings the total raised by FCBA since 2008 to around $3.8 million — so we need everyone to come through if we hope to reach it!
For help, check out our Fundraising Guide on the Tools for Riders page.
Individual costs along the trip should be relatively low, since the trip will be finding the sleeping quarters and providing nearly all the food.
Plan on the trip providing 5-6 dinners a week, with participants needing to pay for their own meal once or twice a week. (Other purchased food -– like stops for ice cream, coffee, etc. are on your own.) The trip will try to make it as affordable for you as possible to complete the journey, but it is not an absolute all-expenses-paid trip across the country.
Your biggest personal costs will come from getting yourself to/from the trip and your personal biking-related purchases, such as spare tires and tubes, gloves, handlebar tape, helmet, pedals and shoes, etc. We have some suggestions for Ways to ship your bike, and if you don’t have a road bike for the ride yet check out our scholarship program. Other miscellaneous costs include National Park entrance fees and a few dollars for pay-showers occasionally throughout a trip.
Checks should be made payable to “The Fuller Center” with “bike – [rider’s name]” in the memo section of the check and mailed to:
The Fuller Center for Housing
Attn: Bike Adventure
PO Box 523
Americus, GA 31709
Donations can also be made through your personal fundraising page, which can be found through searching here.
Yes! The Fuller Center is a 501(c)(3) organization and meets all 20 Better Business Bureau Charity Standards. All contributions that we receive are deductible against federal income taxes. Please note that we can only send the recognition receipt to the writer of the check we receive.
The Fuller Center will send a receipt and donation recognition for any amount $10 or over, and online gifts will be receipted automatically. Even still, you will want to thank your supporters more personally.
Your full donation report will be kept on MyFCBA, from where you can see the name, amount, and contact information of all your non-anonymous donors when you login.
To see how to view that list, view our Welcome to MyFCBA video beginning at 2:48 for that specific donor report.
All the funds go to support the work of the Fuller Center for Housing. Thanks to our simple living on the road, the support of churches and countless volunteers, historically only about 3% of the fund raising is needed to cover the cost of the ride. The rest is covered through the registration fees.
Since we work with the numerous Fuller Center partners most closely, the default and our preference is for funds to go to the sites where most needed. If you have a particular Fuller Center location you are passionate about, though, we do allow you to designate your funds raised for that project. To do so, you must email us at [email protected] before the funds have been raised.
Check out Why We Ride for more stories and details about your impact.
In most circumstances, registration fees and funds raised may be transferred without penalty from one Fuller Center Bike Adventure (“FCBA”) ride to another when done at least 60 days in advance of the trip start date and only to events within the same calendar year. No refunds will be offered unless it falls within the category of special circumstances. Further information an be be found here.
e.g. John signed up to ride Seaside to Sebago, but then had a scheduling conflict and wasn’t able to participate. He still wanted to ride with FCBA though, so he switched to the Underground Railroad Segment 2 without paying a separate registration fee. His fundraising total was also carried over to his ‘new’ ride.