Pictured the 'Ocean to Ocean' Bicycle Adventure group settle in for the evening at Alamosa Presbyterian Church.
ALAMOSA — In 1976 Millard and Linda Fuller established the very well known organization, Habitat for Humanity, which helps people build or improve a place they can call home. Habitat homeowners help build their own homes alongside volunteers and pay an affordable mortgage.
Over 30 years later the couple continued their philanthropic endeavors when they founded the Fuller Center for Housing. While sharing the same creator and a similar mission to Habitat for Humanity, the Fuller Center is a separate entity. The main focus of the Fuller Center is to build and rehabilitate homes to help alleviate poverty stricken communities in the United States and abroad.
In 2008, inspired by creators Millard and Linda’s 700-plus mile walks, Ryan Iafigliola created the Fuller Center Bicycle Adventure. Now the annual rides use donations and sponsorships to fund the ecumenical Christian ministry as well as to further their efforts in areas that need their help.
Utilizing community partnerships and partner families the Bicycle Adventure aims to raise awareness of the ministry and help to turn the tide of poverty in places where it might not otherwise be possible.
This year the cross-country trips were organized into multiple segments and two different trips. In under three months one will go from Astoria, Oregan to Portland, Maine the second from Ocean Beach, California to Ocean City, New Jersey. The ‘Ocean to Ocean’ team stopped off in our backyard for a little reprieve before setting out again on their trip for the coast.
“I participated in a ride going cross country in 2016. I had a friend who had done it previously, and thought it would be an interesting adventure.” Trip leader Joel Derksen said of his beginnings with the trip.
The benevolence of the Bike Adventure on its surface can sometimes outshine the camaraderie and the relationships that get built and strengthened under the adversity of such a mammoth bike ride. “I’m always blown away the sense of community that’s created within the riders here. It’s amazing how you can bring together a group of complete strangers at the beginning of the ride, and somehow within a couple weeks you can become close family or friends for life. It’s really special.”
The dinner team works their magic putting on a nice spaghetti meal for everyone, complete with garlic bread. (Courier photos by Stephen Jiron)
The riders rely on a registration fee to fund their own needs as well as the hospitality of different churches throughout the country. In Alamosa the Alamosa Presbyterian Church opened their doors to the riders.
However, while the organization finds it’s roots in the Christian faith as a ecumenical non-denominational ministry the Bike Adventure is all inclusive, “Riders are welcome to join from any faith doctrine or no faith background at all and similarly we work with families from all faiths or no faiths at all.” Derksen explained.
Like the faith the cross-country trips draw riders from all over the world. Derksen is from Winnipeg, Canada and another rider, Tom Weber is a Colorado native.
And the riders are back at it, from the San Luis Valley the ‘Ocean to Ocean’ Bicycle Adventure will continue east. Alamosa was part of Segment four of the bike ride. From here the team will travel through La Veta and La Junta on their way to Garden City, Kansas for the beginning of Segment five.
The trip is back loaded with regard to build locales as they have seven slated builds from Segment 6-10.
Those interested in donating or learning more can visit their website at www.fullercenterbikeadventure.org. Those who are interested in the Adventure progress and different goings on can follow along on Facebook and Instagram @BikeAdventure.