HERKIMER – Bicyclists from Oceanside, Calif., spent the night in Herkimer Monday night, on their way to Portland, Maine. Known as the Fuller Center Bike Adventure, their trek began June 6 in Oceanside and is a major fundraiser for the Fuller Center for Housing. Cyclists stopped for the evening at Trinity Lutheran Church located on Henry Street in the village.
The Fuller Center for Housing is a faith-driven and Christ-centered organization that promotes collaborative and innovative partnerships with individuals and organizations in an unrelenting quest to provide adequate shelter for all people in need worldwide. For more information on the Fuller Center visit www.fullercenter.org.
The Fuller Center Bike Adventure started their 8/10 leg in Syracuse. Most of the cycles being used are carbon fiber road bikes similar to what you would see in the Tour de France. The Fuller Bike Adventure has one recumbent and one tandem bike in their mix this year.
Mark Smith, from Superior, Wisconsin, said, “The bike adventure is 72 days – 10 weeks.”
Smith took 10 weeks off from his job as a supervisor at SuperOne Foods (a Wisconsin supermarket) to take part in the bike adventure. Smith is also a member of the Air National Guard with the 148th Fighter Wing out of Duluth, Minn. He started in Oceanside California and is going all the way to Maine.
Smith said he was inspired to join the Fuller Center Bike Adventure after encountering a similar Bike and Build ride in Duluth. Each rider involved in the Fuller Center Bike Adventure raises $1 per mile. Riders making the whole trek raise $4,000. The money raised helps eliminate poverty housing across the country.
Melinda Holloway, from the New Orleans area, joined the Fuller Center Bike Adventure in Champaign, Ill. Champaign was convenient for her as she could take her bike on the train to meet up with the ride, she said.
Holloway is a children’s minister and is taking four weeks off to take part in the bike adventure. She explained that, along the way, there are six build days where riders assist local Fuller Centers with work including building, landscaping, and more. She mentioned that there is usually no biking on build days and that Sundays are also generally rest days.
Lydia Huelskamp, trip leader, said there are 23 bikers making the whole trip.
“I’m not a cyclist; just someone who bikes across the country,” she said.
Trinity Lutheran’s Rev. Ann Zimmerman said, “I got a call that a group needed housing. In the 10 years that I’ve been Pastor here in Herkimer this is the first time we’ve housed cyclists. We recently rededicated the church’s basement in May, after the 2013 flood recovery.”
Rev. Zimmerman added she thought that opening the church for hospitality is “what the church is for.”