BICYCLE ADVENTURE UPDATE: Q&A with leader Melissa Merrill

With one month to go before the Fuller Center Bicycle Adventure’s March 15-23 spring ride down The Natchez Trace Parkway — and with one week left to join the ride — we thought it was a good time to snag busy Adventure leader Melissa Merrill for a quick question-and-answer session.

Registration for the spring ride ends after Feb. 22. How are registrations looking?
We have 28 signed up for the spring ride. Last year, we had 26 for the spring ride. And registration’s still open for another week. And for the summer ride we have 16 going the whole way from Savannah to Vancouver, and seven more doing at least a week. Some of those are doing more than a week.

Give us a fundraising update. Where are we now, and what are we hoping for?
For the ride this year, we’ve raised $24,466 as of right now, as of this minute. So that brings us to $709,000 for the ride’s history. Our goal is to bring that total to $900,000, so that leaves us with $190,000 approximately left to raise.

With a month to go before the spring ride, what should riders be doing right now to prepare?
Training. Meeting your fundraising goals. Reading some of the materials we’ve sent out about The Fuller Center and getting to know what we’re about. And just getting excited.

How are you training, just by riding dozens of miles?
Yeah, that’s pretty much what I do. I do some running and cross-training but mostly just riding on the weekends as much as I can. We’re lucky here (in Americus, Ga.) to have good weather to be able to do that. A lot of our riders are coming from more northern states and don’t have the weather to train outside, so a lot of people set up trainers in their garage or basement. You just need to get as much time on your bike as possible.

You’ve been on these trips as a rider before. How is it different as a leader?
It’ll be interesting experiencing it on the spring ride because I know there will be a lot more things I’ll be thinking about and worrying about. They’ll be a lot more challenges. But at the same time it’s also really cool to be able to facilitate the awesome experiences I’ve had in the past for more people. It’s a good opportunity.

There’s still plenty of time for people to sign up for all or segments of the summer ride (On-time registration ends April 1.). Make your pitch for folks to join!
There are all kinds of reasons you might want to sign up. There’s the opportunity to bike across the country or bike across a few states, depending upon how far you can go. Just seeing the country from that perspective is very cool, unique experience. And there’s the opportunity to help people, of course, to make a difference. And I think one of the coolest things that maybe isn’t one of the things you think about first is just the community of people that it brings together. You make best friends with these amazing people who all decided to do this crazy thing with you. By the end of the ride, that’s one of the coolest things.



Spring Bicycle Adventurer John Hughes, 85, always on the go.
Spring ride features three generations with father-son-granddaughter team from Colorado.
Meet Melissa Merrill, who has been selected to lead the 2013 Bicycle Adventure

If you can’t make this
cool journey, you can
still get the cool jersey
for just $49 and support
the Bicycle Adventure
and The Fuller Center.
Click here to find out how!

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