Fuller Center Bicycle Adventure

Find your rider by clicking on their name, or scroll down to meet everyone.

Meet the Riders: Spring 2013

Jesse Adler
Landon Beachy
Debbie Bennett
Diane Bies
Harper Bolz-Weber
Matthew Bolz-Weber
Sarah Cook
Venus Cooke
Emil Cristobal
Scott DeWalt
Sarah Doren
Kim Elmore
Bud Ennis
Cindy Hepp (Van Driver)
Dan Hepp
John Hughes
Maryrae Kearney (Support Staff)
Chris Krall
Ryan Iafigliola

Angela Memory

Melissa Merrill
Beret Meyers (Media Intern)
Dieu Merci Nsangwa
Ben Rivers
Preston Rivers
Kurt Schneider
Dan Sheridan
Cheryl Smith
Patrick Smith
Martha Spiva
Tom Tebbe
Tom Weber
Jonas Winn

Melissa Merrill, 26
2013 Trip Leader
Returning 2009, 2010 & 2011 Fuller Center Cyclist
Akron, Ohio
Fundraising goal: $10,000 – Where Most Needed
Go to Melissa’s fundraising page!

When you spend most of your day on a bike it’s easy to find time to think, which made my first Fuller Center Bicycle Adventure in 2009 a time for plenty of reflection.  However, even during all those miles of thinking between Michigan and the gulf coast of Florida, I didn’t foresee that almost four years later I’d be on my way to Americus, Georgia to follow in the footsteps (or should I say pedal strokes!) of our amazing leader, Allen!

I’ve got some big shoes to fill but I’m extremely grateful to have this new opportunity to serve and I’m certainly up for the challenge!  With a little support from both Allen and Ryan, I’m confident that this will be another incredible and life-changing adventure.  I can’t wait to raise more money and reach more people with the Fuller Center’s message while we see this beautiful country (and even a little bit of Canada!) from our unique, two-wheeled perspective.  I hope you’ll join me!

Ryan Iafigliola, 27
Founder of the Bicycle Adventure
Americus, Georgia
Fundraising Goal: $10,000 – Where Most Needed
Go to Ryan’s fundraising page!

This is going to be a great year for the Fuller Center Bicycle Adventure. In its first five years, it has changed hundreds of lives in depths beyond what we can fully understand, let alone communicate on our website. The power of Christ is alive and active as we go about this ministry; it can only make us all wonder: What might God have in store for us in 2013?

As for me, after creating and leading the ride for three years, I began directing the organization’s international field operations. In that role I have had the opportunity to visit some fascinating places where the Fuller Center is making an impact: Congo (pictured), Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Haiti, Peru, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka. Everywhere I go, I let them know about the incredible efforts of our cyclists, and the reaction around the world is pretty much the same as we get in the U.S.: "You do what??" On five continents people now know about our ride and are super grateful…and incredulous. At the same time, spending time with our partners leaves me impressed and re-energized and constantly wondering how we can do more!

A huge thank you to everyone who is a part of this event – whether riding, donating, or hosting. An enormously special thanks to Melissa Merrill for leaving her engineering job to give a year of her time to come work with me to organize and ultimately lead the event – it’s a stunning move of faith and love for others on her part.

See you all on the road in 2013 as we embark on God’s next journey for us! Oyee!!

Kurt Schneider, 51
Returning 2012 West Coast rider
Boise, Idaho
Fundraising Goal: $750 – Where Most needed

I found out about the Fuller Center last year, and participated in the West Coast portion of the Bicycle Adventure. A life-Changing experience, to be sure. I’m still working on plans for a rather busy summer, but heard so many good things about last year’s spring ride…I couldn’t pass it up.

Martha Spiva, 43
Boise, Idaho
Fundraising Goal: $750 – Silver Valley, Idaho
Go to Martha’s Personal Page!

Martha is one our our Virtual Riders!  She’ll be riding 400 miles in her home state of Idaho this spring.

Hi!  I’m Martha.  All of my life has been centered around being of service. Even my paying jobs have been in the service industry. It is my calling to help make this world a better place, even if it as simple as sharing a smile with a stranger.  All of my life I have felt the call to go on a "mission trip" of sorts.  I had the opportunity to go to Belize right out of high school, but I chose to go to school instead.  Then I got married at 19 and had babies right away and it was never the "responsible thing to do". I thought that in order to go on a mission trip, I would have to leave my family for months on end.  Now my children are older, and thanks to my friend Kurt, I found the Fuller Center and the opportunity to do what I have been called to do all of my life.  Instead of being gone for months on end, I only need to be gone a little over a week, and my family can handle that.

So why THIS trip and why NOW?  A project I was working on came to an end.  I am very project/goal oriented and I started feeling this call to BE more and DO more.  I felt the "call to adventure" (as Joseph Campbell would say when he describes the Hero’s Journey.)  I felt the pull so I sat still and listened.  I knew that I was being called but I didn’t know what I was being called to just yet.  I watched my friend Kurt do the Summer 2012 Bike Adventure and knew that this is where I was being called in some way, but I was still uncertain, until the 2013 Bike Adventure schedule came out.  The Spring Ride was PERFECT.  I KNEW this is where I was meant to be and where I was being called.  One conversation with my husband, and it was cleared!

The longest bike ride I have ever taken is 26 miles and I don’t even know how to fix a flat on my bike, YET!  I have some learning to do and some preparation to get done.  I have lots of training to do. And I am excited for this challenge.  Last year, I focused on running marathons and the lessons I learned while training for those are amazing. I’m looking forward to the lessons I learn about myself and the world around me on this next adventure. I’m looking forward to meeting new friends.  I’m looking forward to making a difference!

Angela Memory, 21
Cincinnati, Ohio
Fundraising Goal: $500 – Where Most Needed
Go to Angela’s Personal Page!

Hi my name is Angela Memory and I’m so excited to be a part of this! I’m a Junior at the University of Cincinnati and an avid runner/ marathoner/ casual triathlete. The past two summers I’ve worked as a backpacking guide in New Mexico so I guess you could say I’m adventurous.

I also really enjoy helping others. I volunteer with Habitat for Humanity and last winter break I went on a service trip to rebuild houses in New Orleans with the St. Bernard Project (we drove there). I’m really excited to spend my spring break logging some serious miles, seeing the beautiful scenery,  and helping others. See y’all on the road!


Diane Bies, 57
Evansville, Indiana
Fundraising Goal: $750 – Sierra Leone
Go to Diane’s Personal Page!

Last spring I found this ride when looking for rides near my home state of Indiana.  Having been born in Nashville, Tn. and having grandparents in Mississippi as a child, this ride was right up my alley.  Way down on my bucket list were both riding the Natchez Trace and working on a home building project  So here is my opportunity to do both with the Fuller Center! 

I am a year round long distance cyclist. At 56 I really enjoy the gift of time on my bike and am anxious to try my skills at home building.  My youngest daughter went on a mission trip last year to Sierra Leone.  I am so excited to be able to raise money for building homes there as she saw a great need in that country and left a piece of her heart there.  She has been a wonderful supporter of me and my cycling dreams, so this is for her dreams of making a difference in Sierra Leone.

Jonas Winn, 26
Returning 2011 Whole Way and 2012 Spring rider
Moline, Illinois
Fundraising Goal: $750 – Where Most Needed

I’m a human that has never felt at home anywhere that i have lived. Riding for the fuller center, being in a new city every night, helping others, and spending time with similar people.

I am "home".  I am participating as a member of this ride because i want to go home.

Chris Krall, 53
Kingston, Pennsylvania
Fundraising Goal: $750 – Where Most Needed
Go to Chris’s fundraising page!

Hi, my name is Chris and I’m an avid cyclist and adventurer looking for a little more. I have probably participated in at least 200 charity events over the past several years, and I helped organize a bike event that’s now in its 4th year – http://www.endurebike.org/.

I was excited to see an opportunity to pursue one of my passions while being able to meet great people and to help make a difference. I am so looking forward to this!

Tom Tebbe, 64
Returning 2010, 2011 & 2012 Fuller Center Cyclist

Northbrook, IL
Fundraising Goal: $750 – Where Most Needed

Riding for the Fuller Center is very meaningful to me.  I enjoy biking and construction work, so these rides provide me the opportunity to do both.  Realizing that  I have been very blessed in my life, I believe it is important to help others in any way that I can.  Giving someone an adequate home to live in is one tangible way to offer help.  Having a home is fundamental and essential to so many other aspects of life.

Tom Weber, 70

Returning 2011 and 2012 Fuller Center Cyclist

Broomfield, CO

Fundraising goal: $750 – Where Most Needed
Go to Tom’s fundraising page!

In 2011 I was looking for a way to ride across this great country of ours, when I discovered the Fuller Bike Adventure, so I signed on for that. After getting a first hand look at a couple of build stops, and what it means to the families that we help, it was no longer about the bike. I realized God was tapping me on the shoulder, telling me this was going to be my way to give back the many blessings I have enjoyed. I now consider myself a riding ambassador for The Fuller Center for Housing.

Last year I rode over 4,000 miles for Fuller Center: the spring ride, the East Coast ride, and finally the West Coast ride. It was a great year for me. I rode, I talked to church groups, I talked to individuals, I helped at build sites, and I raised money for the Fuller Center. One day on the East Coast ride I celebrated my 70th birthday by riding 70 miles, and I have over 7,000 miles on my bike this year.

I wrote about my biking adventure with FCBA the last two years on my blog, geezerlog.blogspot.com, and will continue writing as I prepare and ride in the 2013 adventure.


Cheryl Smith, 56
Sylvania, Ohio
Fundraising Goal: $750 – Where Most Needed
Go to Cheryl’s Personal Page!

Hi!  I’m Cheryl Smith (56) mother of 2 post college kids and happily married (30 yrs) to the love-of-my-life Scott.  I became a Christ follower in college and it transformed my life and world outlook.  Because of this, I’m eager to partner in the spring ride/build ministry of the Fuller Center.  It also gives me the chance to go on a "ministry" trip within my budget and schedule restrictions.  I really look forward to helping with the building project. I also look forward to  meeting like minded people on the trip and along the way.

Cycling became part of my lifestyle following a surgery in 1996 left me with chronic back pain.  I found the more I rode my bicycle, the less intense the pain was.  Soon I was riding further and further and enjoying better health. As for the original pain, I’ve been pain free since 1997! I now have a goal to ride in every state in the U.S.  This ride will allow me to ride in Tennessee and Mississippi AND experience the Natchez Trace, another area on my ride "Bucket List".

Emil Cristobal, 52

Pleasent Hill, CA

Fundraising goal: $750 – Philippines

I Want to Make A Difference by Building A Better World One House at a Time! I have spent a great deal of time in the pews of Churches in th U.S. as well as Internationally. As I offer my Praise and Worship, the message I seem to always hear is FAITH without Works is DEAD as if God is personally speaking to me.

So here I am Lord, I have heard you calling, I will GO Lord where you Lead me. I will now put Faith into action and use my God given Talent, Time and Treasure to help our brothers and sisters in need by joining the Fuller Bike Adventure. Wont you please join me by donating some of your treasure and please donate from the Heart to reach my GOAL of $750.

I will do all the hard training and cycling over 400 miles to make a difference.

May His Abundant Blessings be upon you!


Venus Cooke, 29
Mahopac, NY
Fundraising Goal: $750 – Where Most Needed

My name is Venus Cooke and I’m 29 yrs. old from Mahopac, NY. I’m currently living in Manhattan as an Elementary School Teacher for the past 7 yrs. I have 2 brothers of which one has 4 children and they consider me the crazy Aunt;  Probably,  because I sign up for adventures like these and love competing in mud runs, jumping out of planes, and running marathons. This past summer I participated in the Haiti build through the Fuller Housing Center during the month of August. What an experience that was!!! So life changing that it enticed me to sign up for this adventure that seems to take things just one step further. Looking forward to meeting you all!!!


Sarah Cook, 26
Tempe, AZ
Fundraising Goal: $750 – Where Most Needed
Go to Sarah’s fundraising page!

My name is Sarah Cook. I’m from Tempe, AZ. I work at Arizona State University managing a research lab which studies hearing impairment. Outside of the lab I enjoy the 12-months of beautiful cycling weather (okay so not so beautiful in the summer) that Phoenix has to offer. I’m looking forward to the ride this Spring with the Fuller Center. This will be my first long-distance ride! Three years ago I met Sarah Doren (who has ridden with Fuller the last couple of years) in Pittsburgh. I’ve been threatening to join her on the rides since then but haven’t pulled the trigger until this year.  I’m looking forward to riding with her and the rest of the team, forming friendships, pushing myself physically and emotionally over the long distances, and helping families in need. Cheers!


Patrick Smith, 25
Returning 2011 and 2012 Fuller Center Cyclist
Williamsburg, VA
Fundraising Goal: $750 – Where Most Needed

Hey there folks, My name is Patrick Smith, I’m a dreamer, an aspiring fiction writer and a lover of stories I believe wholeheartedly in Muriel Rukeyser’s quote “The universe is made of stories, not atoms.” We all have a story to tell, and oh how many wonderful stories I have accumulated from spending time with these Fuller Center Bicycle enthusiasts. So many I have to keep a journal if that gives you any indication.

I first encountered the Fuller Center in 2011 when one of my brother and a mutual best friend found that they shared the same dream of traveling across the country by bicycle. We participated in the 2011 summer ride from Washington Seattle to Washington D.C. It was an adventure I’ll never forget, and I was blessed again this past summer being able to spend a few days with the bicycle adventurers as they traveled through Virginia.

My grandfather John Smith was very active in Habitat for Humanity, he loved to have to opportunity to help others in need and help repair this broken world one home at a time. I am honored and blessed to be able to contribute my share to such a noble cause through the work of the Fuller Center. It’s truly God’s work, to provide shelter and restore the dignity of those in need.

I also look forward to seeing my dear friends from previous rides, Sarah Doren, Jonas Winn, Melissa Merrill, Ryan Iafigliola, and Tom Webber what a host of characters full of vibrant spirit, indomitable personalities, and endless source of sheer random fun each in their own unique way! I look forward to riding with you all!

So without further ado here is to God using all that we have and guiding on our bikes on this journey! Here is to helping people in need and fulfilling Millard and Linda Fuller’s dream of ending poverty housing! Here is to catching up with old Fuller Center Friends and making new ones along the way, and here is to the Fuller Center Bicycle Adventure Spring Ride 2013 Oyee!!!


Dan Hepp, 57
Springfield, OH
Fundraising Goal: $750 – Where Most Needed
Go to Dan’s Personal Page!

Hi, I’m Dan, a life long cyclist and advocate of helping others. I’ve been on several construction mission trips, multiple cycling tours but have never put the two together. This will be a new adventure for me and my wife Cindy who will be the SAG driver. We are both excited to be a part of the Fuller Center Bicycle Adventure to see what God has in store for us on this trip.


Scott DeWalt, 43
Thorofare, NJ
Fundraising Goal: $750 – Where Most Needed

Hi my name is Scott and I got involved with home building missions several years ago after Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast in 2005. My best friend went with his church and came back and kept telling me you need to do this! Long story short, I went with him to Biloxi, MS for a week and my life was changed there. Since that time I have been doing two weeks a year rebuilding homes in the states and organizing trips through the church I attend. I have worked several weeks with The Fuller Center both in Mississippi and Texas and enjoy riding, so when I saw they have a bike adventure I figured this sounds interesting.


Sarah Doren, 28
Returning 2010, 2011, and 2012 Fuller Center Cyclist
Allison Park, PA
Fundraising Goal: $750 – Where Most Needed
Go to Sarah’s fundraising page!

Riding with the Fuller Center is incredible. I’m not sure I have ever experience anything to its equal. There’s nothing quite like sleeping on the floor, peeing in the woods, and spending a good part of each day on the bike. To many this would cause them to turn away from such an adventure but in my opinion, that’s a shame.

Because it is in these daunting or simple or seemingly uncomfortable things that what’s real and important in life come to the surface: people. We are riding to help others and in doing so we get to spend time with some of the goofiest, strangest, and wonderful people out there. Who take on this adventure, not because its easy but because its worth it.

It is in these relationships where doing a crazy thing like riding a bike 65 miles a day begins to make sense. And it is here to that opportunities to grow as people and in Christ become the building blocks for helping others.

So this year I’m so excited to ride again with old and new members of the FCBA family, to participate with my friend Sarah Cook and to see once again how God blesses our socks off in Christ.

Feel free to check out my blog about these adventures: sarahdcycles.blogspot.com

And remember the true test of a man’s character isn’t how fast he rides his bike but how often he will hold yours when you have to go to the bathroom. 🙂


Cindy Hepp, 57
Springfield, OH
Van Driver

Matthew 5:16 "Letting my light shine before men to glorify God" is my life’s motto. Throughout our married life of 34 years, my husband Dan and I have found ways to use our passion, talents, time and money to serve others. We often get our family and friends involved as well. I will serve as a SAG driver, helping to meet the needs of the bicyclists, be their cheerleader and lighten the load of our leaders. This is a role I have done for several charity ride events – no two event ride experiences are alike but they have similarities.  Being a fellow cyclist helps in anticipating other’s needs.  I will gladly speak out for the cause to enlighten others. As for construction, I’m a good gopher, holder, or clean up crew. Getting to enjoy and marvel at another area of God’s creation is an added bonus of the trip.


Maryrae Kearney, 70
Springfield, OH
Support Staff

I have been riding my bicycle for over 65 years!  My husband and I served as SAG support for riders from Springfield, Oh to Northern Michigan.  It was a great experience and I am looking forward to serving on the SAG team again.


Harper Bolz-Weber, 14
Denver, CO
Fundraising Goal: $500 – Where Most Needed

I am Geezerman’s granddaughter, an artist, and musician. I am doing this ride because I love riding my bike with my dad and grandpa, and I believe people deserve comfortable, safe places to live.


Matthew Bolz-Weber
Returning 2012 Fuller Center Cyclist
Denver, CO
Fundraising Goal: $750 – Where Most Needed
Go to Matthew’s Fundraising Page!

I’m a Child of G-d, father, husband, pastor, amateur athlete, and mediocre musician who believes that everyone ought to have a safe, secure, and comfortable place to live.  I’m excited to be raising money for the Fuller Center, and to ride this Spring Adventure with my dad, my daughter, and all the other remarkable folks who will be on the ride.


Debbie Bennett, 55
Douglasville, GA
Fundraising Goal: $750 – Where Most Needed

My name is Debbie Bennett. I am a wife, mother and grandmother to 4 beautiful grandbabies.  I started riding about 5 years ago with the last 2 years on a rode bike. The opportunity to ride the Natchez Trace has been a dream  of mine for a couple of years. This year one of my goals was to ride the Trace and another was to participate in a mission trip. I am thankful that God has allowed me to combine my passion for cycling as well as my passion to help others. The Bible says where much is given much is required. I am excited and ready for this challenge.


Kim Elmore, 27
Toledo, OH
Fundraising Goal: $1500 – Where Most Needed

Hey! My name is Kim and I currently live in Northwest Ohio where I work for a custom home builder.  Philanthropy is very important to me and I love what the Fuller Center for Housing is doing.  My day job of building homes combined with my love for riding and giving back makes this bike adventure the perfect fit for me.  I see every day what having a new home means to people. I ‘m looking forward to the physical challenge of the ride and helping those in need of housing.


John Hughes, 85
Springdale, OH
Fundraising Goal: $750 – Where Most Needed

I am a retired, 85 year old cyclist that has ridden more the 34,000 miles. Typical long rides have been:

1. Several European rides, along the Rhine, Southern Spain and Switzerland.

2. Two rides in Death Valley Ca. with JDRF (I am a T1 diabetic and the highest fund raiser for the 2012 event).

3. Three rides from Miami to the Fla. Keys

4. Los Angles to San Diego.

Jesse Adler, 35
Austin, TX
Fundraising Goal: $750 – Where Most Needed

After hearing about the Fuller Center for Housing, an adventure involving bicycles and building sounded right up my alley. I am a cyclist, traveller, designer, and builder of things. Currently I am living in Austin, TX working as an Intern Architect and enjoying year-round cycling weather.  I am excited for new adventures and cant wait to meet everyone on the ride!

Bud Ennis, 75
Vermilion, OH
Fundraising Goal: $750 – Where Most Needed
Go to Bud’s Fundraising Page!

I’m Bud and I found this ride while looking for a spring ride for my friend Dan & myself.  After retirement I got back into biking and helping 2 local Habitat for Humanity affiliates, so this ride allows me to do both.  I try to ride at least 2,000 miles per year as well as participate in at least 2 week-long biking events. Mostly, my wife of 53 years and I have been blessed with good fortune and good health. We have 3 wonderful children, all of whom have ridden with me, as well as 2 of our 5 grandchildren. So since retirement, it’s been payback time. I’ve been on a number of mission trips and have helped build at least 35 Habitat houses.  Giving back continues to be a very humbling experience.  I’m really looking forward to this ride with newfound friends.

Dan Sheridan, 55
Marion, OH
Fundraising Goal: $750 – Where Most Needed

I’m a hospital pharmacist from Ohio. I’ve done several dozen week-long bicycle rides. I’m more interested in seeing the sights along the way than I am in getting to the destination in a hurry. I have 3 adult children, a 10 year old son, and a wonderful wife. I’m on our local county park board, and spend lots of time working to build our county’s first rail-trail.

I decided to join the ride along with my friend Bud Ennis because it sounds like a wonderful way to combine my passion for bicycling with a chance to make the world a better place. I’m looking forward to a wonderful week.

Ben Rivers, 53
Columbia, SC
Fundraising Goal: $750 – Where Most Needed

I am looking forward to spending a week on the Natchez Trace and Build Day in Tupelo.  For quite some time I have searched for a "first" bike tour….the Fuller Center Bicycle Adventure captured my interest as it includes cycling, partner with other motivated people, and the opportunity to serve others.  Also, I will be able to spend time and serve with my son Preston – the youngest of our three children.

We have the enthusiastic support of family, friends, and fellow church members.  With my year round road and mountain biking experience and general knowledge of construction and home repair, I feel prepared to meet the challenges of this adventure.

Preston Rivers, 18
Columbia, SC
Fundraising Goal: $500 – Where Most Needed
Go to Preston’s fundraising page!

I overheard my Dad telling someone about his plan to participate in the Spring Ride and I was immediately hooked.  I enjoy cycling, outdoors, and service projects.  This is my senior year in high school and I am headed to USC Upstate in the fall, so this may be a last chance for a few years for my Dad and I to join together on an adventure.

My experience with cycling, camping, and church mission projects hopefully have me well prepared for this adventure.  I look forward to meeting everyone in Nashville.

Landon Beachy, 60

Kalona, Iowa

Fundraising Goal: $7,400 – Where Most Needed
Go to Landon’s fundraising page!

I’m an avid cyclist who competes in Mountain Bike and road races. But Cyclocross is my favorite time of year.

In the past I participated in Ultra Endurance events including the 2002 PAC Tour transcontinental. More recently I have ridden 5 years on the annual multi day "Ride for Missions" supporting Rosedale Mennonite Missions. 

The chance to ride and serve others appeals to me. Sure to be an adventure!

Beret Meyers, 34
Flagler Beach, FL

My name is Beret Meyers. I am currently enrolled full time at Daytona State College, pursuing my goal to be a professional photographer.  I’m sad to say that I won’t actually be on a bicycle for this ride, but I am excited about the opportunity to be the media intern. I look forward to meeting everyone who will be on the ride this year, and capturing the adventure through photographs and video.

Dieu Merci Nsangwa

Americus, GA
Fundraising Goal: $500 – Democratic Republic of the Congo

This ride will be the longest I’ve done so far and also a bit challenging.  Knowing that it is for a good cause is what makes it important to be able to participate on the ride so that a family (or families) out there, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, for instance, can have their wish for a new home fulfilled.

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