We’re all winding down tonight after our first official day of riding on the Fuller Center Bicycle Adventure. Thankfully, Tom bought some dark chocolate for us to share and I just partook of four pounds of spaghetti so I have plenty of energy for this blog and tomorrow’s 94-mile ride!
Today started with church at Riverside Presbyterian Church in beautiful Niagara Falls. Laura Norris-Buisch, the pastor, gave a sermon about breaking barriers which fits right into our adventure’s philosophy of all of us having the same value to our Loving God and right to having a decent home to live in. The folks at Riverside Presbyterian made US feel so at home in every way: listening to us talk about our bike adventure, contributing generously to our goal when they learned we were raising $250,000 for eliminating poverty housing, letting us sleep in their church, feeding us cake and making us yummy snacks, and letting us use their kitchen while we were getting ready for our kick off. We couldn’t ask for a better start!
After church, we ate a quick lunch, loaded up the trailer, and biked to Goat Island where we had our kick-off ceremony! Goat Island has a beautiful view of the Horseshoe Falls, so it was the perfect place to get some great shots of all the excitement going on. Pastor Laura and some other friends from Riverside Presbyterian joined us for prayer, Ryan talked about how much faith we’ll need to succeed on this adventure, and Ivan mentioned that he was dedicating his ride to his Father.
Our stop at Goat Island had a couple of FUN surprises. The GEICO Gecko showed up to see us off! All of the tourists were as surprised as we were and everyone around was running up to GG and getting hugs, especially all of the little tourist kids. I gave GG a hug too because chances are I would never run into him in Niagara Falls again. I’m sure that’s what everyone else was thinking – get him while the getting, and the weather, is HOTT.
Anyway, another exciting surprise was an inquiry from a Malaysian man named Jala visiting his family in Niagara Falls as to what we, a bunch of cyclists dressed in blue and orange Fuller Center jerseys, were doing there. He told us he was the winner of the 1963 Tour de Malaysia! It didn’t take long for our whole team and Jala’s family to get excited about sharing stories and taking pictures together. Jala’s family was a lot of fun. They were interested in supporting the Fuller Center. Jala was so taken with us he said we could always stay with him if we come to Malaysia. You never know with this crowd, since there are Fuller Centers worldwide. He’ll be exchanging pictures via e-mail with Ryan, so we’ll be able to stay in touch. HOORAY!
So then we started our bike ride to Buffalo, officially kicking off our adventure. With one rest stop, it took us a couple of hours to make it to Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church – it’s really old and really beautiful! By the end, we biked 31 miles total. We all feel pretty good, but we’ll see what happens after our 94-mile ride tomorrow – WOOHOO!
It took us awhile to get our things in the church, so we found places to shower in the meantime, thanks to Ivan’s connections to Ben and Kevin in Buffalo. Special thanks to you guys for letting us do our MUCH needed de-stinkifications at your house! I’m especially glad that some of us, including me, got the opportunity to talk to Kevin for a while. Kevin runs the Re-Use store in Buffalo and is deeply interested in solving the problem of poverty housing in Buffalo. I’m grateful that we’re connected to him now so we can keep track of HIS blog.
After returning from showers, we had a HUGE FEAST thanks to Aaron (who REALLY wanted to be mentioned in this blog–all of these incredible photos are also courtesy of Aaron) and Olivia. They made all of us an awesome, legendary (according to Aaron, and everyone else, really) four lb. spaghetti dinner with garlic bread, which better sustain us all for our super-long, and going-to-be-super-fun ride tomorrow from Buffalo, N.Y. to Erie, Pa. I can’t wait!
Goodnight everyone! OYEE!
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Meet today’s blogger, Leah Gay…