I just got back from a bike ride—I’m in training for the big event. I’ll be riding with the Bicycle Adventure on the last leg of their trip, from Tallahassee to the beach. I’m having some real Lance Armstrong moments with this. I do need a pit crew, though, or maybe a chase vehicle. I got halfway into my ride tonight and my rear tire went flat. I have a lot of trouble with my rear tire. I think that it doesn’t do well on hills, so we should be alright on the beach run as it’s mostly coastal plain. Or so they tell me. But they told me that it was a 25 mile jaunt, which then turned into 30 and is now hovering around 40. So my confidence is shaken.
Anyway, I’m halfway through my ride and the tire goes flat. I’m proud to say that I was a good distance from home when this happened. It was a longer walk home than a ride out. I lost the wind-through-my-hair thing as well, so it was a hotter, sweatier walk home than a ride out. I guess this is what they mean by training.
All of this is to say that the 2009 Bicycle Adventure is days away from lift-off. The riders will leave Michigan this coming Sunday and will arrive 1350 miles and 5 weeks later in Florida. They’ll be visiting a number of Covenant Partners along the way and will be building in places like South Bend IN, Winchester KY and Lanett AL. There are twice as many full-trip riders this year and we expect a good number to join the trip for shorter jaunts along the way.
Ryan, our intrepid leader, left Americus yesterday morning. We have a new van as the chase vehicle, well new to us. It’s a 14 passenger Ford with, get this, 750,000 miles on it. But it’s a 2001 and a diesel, so it’s almost like new. It’s pulling the trip trailer which we had repainted and is looking sharp. We had some great sponsors come forward to help pay for the paint job—SB&T Bank, Southwestern Georgia State University, Café Campesino and Client First Financial will all have a little cross-continental exposure. (With this addition The Fuller Center now has a fleet—we have a pirogue and a motorcycle in Congo, another motorcycle in Sri Lanka and the jumbo van and trailer here. I hope we’re not getting too fancy too fast.)
We had a nice send-off for Ryan. Pastor Purtill from the 1st Presbyterian Church led devotions and Father Hutchens from the Episcopal Church blessed the riders and the van. We had a great time. It was a little wistful sending Ryan off—sort of like waving goodbye to your firstborn as he heads off for college. Actually I was wishing I was in the van with him. He’s off on a grand adventure. The riders will be blogging all along the trail—you can follow them at fullercenter.org. I know I’ll be following them, until they get to Tallahassee that it, when, fit and buff (or still old and a little flabby) I’ll get to join their ranks.