We’re wrapping up our first full day of the Fuller Center Bike Adventure! I still can’t really believe I’m doing it... perhaps it’ll set in when we actually start biking. Tomorrow we’re doing our first official ride from the shore of Lake Michigan in St. Joseph to South Bend, Indiana—about 40 miles. I’m pretty nervous, but I think I’m probably about as prepared as most of the other people here, and there’s definitely the mentality that this is not a race. Over the past two days we’ve been getting oriented to the logistics of the ride and stuff... and eating a lot of good food served by some very generous locals :).
Friday I got to the First Church of God here in St. Joseph at about 1:00, met a few of the riders, and acquired all of my cool new Fuller Center gear. Then I got a box full of 295 letters that I had to sign and stuff into envelopes to send to all the Kiwanis clubs in Ohio asking for donations :). Luckily I got some help from some of my fellow riders. That evening we had dinner at a beautiful lake house and relaxed on the beach while the sun set, and we stayed the night in the basement of the church. It’s been an unexpectedly comfortable start to the trip.
Today we had some more formal orientation. I learned how to change a flat tire!! We also went on a short practice ride around town which was fun. It’s a lot different riding in a group of people than it is riding alone—I think that aspect is going to make this trip even more interesting. Then we went to the St. Joseph – Benton Harbor YMCA and I had my first communal shower experience. Haha. Ryan Iafigliola, the trip leader, taught us about the Fuller Center, which was great. He answered some questions about the difference between it and Habitat for Humanity that I’ve been searching for answers to for a while. Then for dinner we went to a farm owned by a guy named Gary who cooked some enormous steaks for us, and when we arrived he asked “so what are you guys actually doing?”. Again, he just confirmed what I’ve been finding all along—all he knew was that we were doing something good and that we needed to eat, and that’s all he needed to open up his beautiful farm and cook steak for us. There are good people everywhere :).
Tomorrow we’re going to the church service upstairs and setting up a table outside to talk to people as they’re leaving... and hopefully raising some money. Then we’re setting off on our first day of riding after the official send off ceremony at 2:30! Wish me luck :).