By Patrick Smith
Returning 2011 Bicycle Adventurer
I’m a returning Fuller Center Cyclist who participated in last year’s bike adventure. Last summer’s ride was an amazing experience that has changed my life forever and this year I’m so grateful to be part of the adventure again even if it’s only for a few days. Wednesday June 6th I arrived at the church in Alexandria bike in hand ready for more of the magic I experienced last year and I was not disappointed. After reuniting with veteran Fuller Center Cyclists Allen, Alyssa and Tom Weber I was given a warm welcome from this year’s Cyclists. Everyone was so nice I felt like I was becoming part of the family right away. It’s one of the amazing things about going on adventures like these you just seem to run into the best people with the warmest hearts. And to think I was really worried when I found out that all the riders this year are morning people (since I’m not a morning person), but it’s amazing how smooth mornings can be with so many excited and happy people around.
I already know everyone’s name and most of their stories: why they are here, how long they’ve been cycling or active in the Fuller Center, where they are from and where they are going. I guess that’s one of the benefits of a smaller group you really get to know everyone a whole lot faster. After leaving Alexandria we rode to Tappahannock, a town that is part of a little known area commonly referred to as the Northern Neck. Tappahannock is forty-five minutes from the town where I grew up and it’s a place that carries many fond memories. While visiting Tappahannock we stayed in a very nice house at St. Margaret’s School. All the riders were impressed with the lodgings and eager to rest after a close to a hundred mile day of cycling. St. Steven’s Anglican Church (my church), provided dinner for the riders consisting of: large sandwiches, fruit, and salad and my family provided lasagna, chicken and vegetables.
From Tappahannock we traveled to Williamsburg and at the moment I am writing this we are hanging out at the Wesley Building at the college of William and Mary. We’ve had some time out on the town and later this evening we will be eating at a cook out courtesy of Nathan Moore. Also today happened to be mail day so many of the riders received mail today and Hailey Dady (another veteran rider whom I had the privilege to ride with last year) sent wonderful note to all the fuller center riders filled with love and encouragement and she sent a box full of muffins with chocolate and M&Ms for everyone. As I said before about trips like these they tend to attract people with the warmest hearts.
Being back on the bike trip has been one of the best experiences I’ve had in 2012 even if it has just been for a few days. I love spending time biking with others, getting to know new people, hearing their stories, seeing the sites, reminiscing, talking about the Fuller Center and it’s beautiful mission to provide affordable housing worldwide. I think the only that would have made these last days better is if I could have participated on a build day. Nevertheless I am truly blessed to spend time with such sincere, passionate and fun people this week.
May God bless each one of the riders this summer and their wonderful work as they continue on their journey spreading the message of the Fuller Center to Key West Florida. Oh how I wish, I wish I could continue riding with each of these remarkable people the rest of the way!