by Arron Luo

Mark said he wrote about his overall experience. Susan recommended I write about what it has meant so far to me. Still others said I could write about something that had moved me, or - since I have not been on any build days yet (as though only build days could move me) - something I had learned. From these others, I’m led to think that I am to write about what has become important to me to say, at least regarding this trip.

It has been nearly 400 miles since I have joined this ride, having been picked up by Tom and Lois from a sleepy airport in Billings, MT. When asked by conversation-making, welcoming, and/or curious team members why I had joined, I would say something easy like, “I thought I liked to bike,” or, as I pat my sizable belly, “I wanted to lose my paunch.” And these are reasons true enough - I had thought I enjoyed biking (and I believe I still do, sore muscles and aching bones aside), and to lose weight would be a wonderful palliative for adolescent insecurity. But the true reason, uncontainable in a soundbite, I wasn’t able to say or fully explain, being unable to give voice to thoughts in my brain’s undercurrent neatly or comprehensively. But here I can, and after reflection, this is the something important for me to write about, not as self-celebration or praise of my own person, but rather as an honest, thought-out relaying so you may better understand, if you want to (I say “if you want to” because I already I foresee this post in its finished entirety being a tiresome one): The reason I had joined this trip, and my reasoning.
by Susan Pratt

This is the sixth year I have been on the bike trip and actually reached 10,000 miles of cycling with 
FCBA somewhere between Rapid City and Roundup, MT. Six years ago I would never have thought I could have and would have cycled so far, that it is virtually impossible. But, the passion everyone on this adventure has for helping others makes the impossible possible.

I am a teacher so I have the summer “off.” That gives me time to work summer school, visit exotic places, or spend up to six weeks pedaling across America, sleeping on the floors of churches, not knowing what is ahead tomorrow, much less 10 miles from now. I have chosen the latter, with no doubt in my mind because the reward is great. The smiles we bring on homeowners’ faces when we lend a helping hand, the love we receive at each of the host churches and the passion that emanates from our hearts within are rewards that are too great to turn down. It is a simple life during which priorities become evident and the goodness of humanity fills my day from the time I wake up (5 a.m.) to the time I lay myself to sleep (10 pm).
by John Hebert

We had a great breakfast this morning, sausage, eggs, pancakes, etc. Today we rode only 36 miles to the next town of Helena, Montana. It’s the shortest ride of the whole trip, it should be a piece of cake! Out on the road at 8:00 AM, 30 mph wind in our faces so strong we had to pedal to go down hill. As a car passed me I heard a crash and pieces of plastic flew around my wheels. A deer was hit by a car right behind me, it was a close call for me. We pedaled on all morning trying to go at least 10 mph. It was too windy to talk, not much fun today. It is an adventure, we never know what a day brings forth.
by Greg Zeroun

7-23 Bike Day 34, Harlowton MT to Townsend MT (94 miles 3,600ft elevation gain)

This past Sunday I stumbled on a scripture that has really stuck with me; it's from The Message translation of the bible. It was awesome to me not only because it had deep meaning but because it had to do with building a home, and that is our mission after all:

Ephesians 2:19-22  "You're no longer wandering exiles. This kingdom of faith is now your home country. You're no longer strangers or outsiders. You belong here, with as much right to the name Christian as anyone. God is building a home. He's using us all--irrespective of how we got here--in what he is building. He used the apostles and prophets for the foundation. Now he's using you, fitting you in brick by brick, stone by stone, with Christ Jesus as the cornerstone that holds all the parts together. We see it taking shape day after day--a holy temple built by God, all of us built into it, a temple in which God is quite at home."
by Joe Ergle

It’s easy to lose sight, especially on a bike. Easy to lose sight of your surroundings, of the beautiful scenery we’re passing by, our goals, and our purpose. It’s hard at times to focus on anything but the wheel in front of you.

Today was my first time ever riding as a ‘sweep’ on an FCBA ride, and I learned a lot as a product of having ample time to think and absorb. I was able to enjoy the presence of the riders around me, who have all become my friends over the past week. I was graced with the ability to embrace the scenery as the Rockies beckoned us into Harlowton. I was gifted with time to consider our goals -- why we’re here, what we are really trying to accomplish out in the West on our loyal two wheeled stallions. I thought a great deal about our purpose. Not just on paper, but how every mile translates to our humanitarian cause and our conviction to help. Every pedal stroke is a push for change, a strain of muscle and bone for the greater good. Torque on crank arms for our neighbors in need, kilowatts for strangers who on an essential and existential level are our friends and brothers. Blood, at times, spilled for those without homes at all. It’s so very easy to lose sight of this.