Alliance has a very active youth program. We had to move our sleeping quarters after the first night to accommodate the needs of this group. Then we were lucky enough to be able to eat dinner with them all, and chat a little about our ride.
It looks like tropical storm Debby may be with us for the remainder of our ride. We are expecting to be riding in the rain most of this coming week. This will make for more of an adventure, which is what we all signed up for!
I was asked to write an article for a paper here in Florida, which I have posted below. Not sure if it will be accepted, but I hope so. Here it is:
My name is Tom Weber, aka “geezerman.” I’ve been told I am a hero by a number of people, I guess because I’m 70 years old, and love just riding my bicycle for The Fuller Center for Affordable Housing. Of course, I’ve also been called “crazy” and a few other things by a number of people. I guess “just riding” my bicycle is not quite accurate, because I’m planning to ride 4,000 miles for The Fuller Center this year. I completed the spring ride (400 miles), am about to finish the East Coast ride (2,000 miles), and will soon head to Seattle to pedal the West Coast ride (1,600 miles).
Well, I’m far from a hero! What I am is an old geezer who retired, and was looking for a cross country bike ride because I like to ride bikes. I happened to find The Fuller Center for Affordable Housing Bike Adventure. It looked like a great ride, except for the “talking and building” that was advertised as part of the ride. I figured that if I had to participate in some building occasionally, and speak occasionally, it was a small price to pay for this opportunity. But when I read about the life of Linda and Millard Fuller, who took action to do something about people living in substandard housing, I found the real heroes. Fullers are responsible for over 500,000 homes being built for people in need of safe housing. They created a life of serving their brothers and sisters on this planet, and set the example for all of us. If you think you can’t make a difference in this world, just read about the Fullers.
Once I actually had the opportunity to work on a building project or two (helping to build a room addition and handicapped bathroom for a young high school student who was recently confined to a wheel chair, and helping to build a wheel chair ramp for a lady who has been unable to leave her home for two years because of the five steps down from her porch) I changed from an old cynic to a ‘young’ bicycle advocate for The Fuller Center.
Other heroes are the young people riding the Bike Adventure with me. They have given me confidence in the youth of this country; confidence that I had been missing listening to all the negative news programs every night. The deep faith expressed and lived by these “kids” is very refreshing to me, and that has inspired me to keep pedaling. These rides can be very difficult, both physically and mentally, with miles to go, no other riders visible, and a long empty road ahead. It often brings up the image that each pedal stroke I take is like nailing another nail in a home of a family in need of a hand up, and to stop pedaling would be like letting a family down.
I am fortunate to have the ability to ride a bicycle, and have accepted the challenge to ride for affordable housing. I strongly believe God led me to The Fuller Center, and I know he guides me along this path to helping folks.
I am blessed to be a husband, father, grandfather, geezer athlete, lover of raptors, bike rider, and Ambassador for The Fuller Center for Affordable Housing.