RSSCategory: Fuller Bike Ride

Fuller 70 for 70

| June 20, 2023 | 0 Comments

Yesterday, we rode 80 miles, which gave me the opportunity to do my 70 miles for my 70th birthday. My previous two attempts ended prematurely with unfixable blowouts. The ride was delightful. Strained a bit at the end and was always anxious that a hard bump would generate a flat.

But I made it and it felt good. Even more importantly, I felt like I’m prepared for this week. I don’t usually train for these rides, but this time I did, sort of. Certainly did more riding that I ever have in anticipation of a ride.

Here’s the Moment I Hit 70 Miles

Fuller – American Pie

| June 18, 2023 | 0 Comments

One of the unexpected periodic opportunities I get from the Fuller rides is to experience pop and rock song lyrics. On a previous ride, I was “standing on a corner in Winslow, Arizona.” On another trip, we stayed in Tonopah, made famous in Linda Ronstadt’s song, Willin’ with the lyric, “I’ve been from Tucson to Tucumcari, Tehachapi to Tonopah”. I’ve also seen a “dead skunk in the middle of the road,” made famous by Loudon Wainwright III.

Last night, I checked another box. The song is American Pie by Don McLean. The lyric is “drove my Chevy to the Levy and the Levy was dry.”

In New Rochelle, we’re staying at the Holy Family Church, which is next to Iona College, of which Don McLean is an alum. Across the street from the college, the go-to student bar is now called the Beechmont Tavern. It used to be called The Levy when McLean was a student. Get it? One night, the bar was out of beer, leaving “the good ole boys…drinking whiskey and rye.”

There you have it. One of the many mysteries in that song solved.

Formerly Known as The Levy
The Proof
Fuller Riders

Fuller Bike Adventure 2023 Take 2

| June 17, 2023 | 0 Comments

This is the first time I’ve done two Fuller Rides in one year. As I write, I’m on the train from Boston to New Rochelle, NY to join the ride.

I honestly don’t know what pulls me back to these rides. The cause, the “living simply” experience, the camaraderie of my Fuller friends all play a big role. Honestly, the riding itself, while enjoyable (mostly) plays a smaller part of it.

This ride is different in a number of respects. It’s shorter than others. I usually do two weeks. This is only one week. Three hundred and fifty miles. I will be riding through my home region, New England, though not close to Boston, sadly. One big positive difference is that I don’t have to pack my bike in a box for air travel. I’m joining and departing the ride by Amtrak. Packing the bike is literally my least favorite part of these rides. It’s a huge relieve not to have to disassemble, pack, unpack and reassemble the bike twice, which was the case for almost all the other rides.

Amtrak, the ONLY way to travel with a bike
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Cambridge Ohio

| August 8, 2016 | 0 Comments

Bill, Beverly & Peter at Guernsey Kitch

Bill, Beverly & Peter at Guernsey Kitch

Peter and I strolled the Main Street of Cambridge, Ohio looking for a good beer. Peter is a beer snob, and he often finds someplace that offers IPA beer in every little town we visit. Sure enough, we found Guernsey Kitchen. Peter went into his spiel about what saints we are biking across America to provide affordable housing to families in need. Sometimes people will listen attentively and wait for payment.. Sometimes, they will shower us with effusive praise and allow us to drink for free. This was the latter. Beverly was so impressed, she not only gave us beers for free, she prepared a cheese and sausage plate to accompany our beers. All on the house. Here we are with Beverly.

Guest Blogger: Peter Asmuth

| August 8, 2016 | 0 Comments

Editor’s note: I am doing the Fuller cross country bike ride with my friend, Peter Asmuth.  He recruited me and did it last year.  He is also providing updates to friends and family.  He agreed to let me post his dispatches.  We pick up Peter’s reports in progress.

Farmer Pete

Farmer Pete

One of the axioms of the Fuller Center for Housing is, “living simply, so others can simply live.” Along the way, you do come to realize how little you actually need to be completely content with your situation. So, when nature calls, you look around and make do.

The other day, I was “in the field”, after ignoring the warning about the fire ants that someone casually mentioned. When I got to the showers that evening, my ankles had a dozens of bites, which extended up to, but not past…the leggings; reason #24 to never ride without them. 🙂

Today, was a nice 83 miles with next to no wind. I could tell that the wind might be a real problem in these parts, as there are hundreds of wind turbines dotting the landscape; and they’re all facing the direction that we’re heading, just poised for that thirty mph head wind. Today, they just stood there barely moving, which was fine by me and the folks back in Craig, Colorado operating that coal fired generation plant.

After about 40 miles we crossed the Indiana state line and entered the eastern time zone. The landscape is quite flat and a mixture of corn on one side of the road and soy bean on the other. Every now and again, to break up the pattern, they reverse the corn and soy bean sides, which doesn’t really bring any relief from the monotony.

I came upon a livestock auction house with a bunch of trucks parked in the lot and, although I didn’t think that I needed a cow, I went in to check out the action and talk shop with the boys. The auction wasn’t going to happen for a hour, but a nice fellow gave me the nickel tour of the place and told me how the process works. I learned something, too. Who else knew that cows have horns, just like bulls?

BTW, everyone must have gotten the corn quiz question correct. It’s one ear per stalk, for the reason stated. And you can buy it for $.18 in the store. How does that business model work?

The next two days are going to be pretty tough; 100 plus miles, back to back. Some of you have asked, “How do you do it, Pete?”

Like all successful people have discovered, you break it down into manageable segments. The first 20 miles, you’re not even thinking of the ride; your fresh, fed, and the morning sun is greating the new day. And you get to enjoy it all on your bike. What could be better?

Somewhere along the second twenty miles, you’re 1/3 of the way. And the difference between 1/3 and 1/2 is only 1/6, which is practically nothing. Soon, your 2/3 done and the mental gymnastics start to give way and you realize that it’s hot, you’re tired, and the last quarter is going to take a lot longer than you want. At that point, you put the distances and the time in familiar context. Why, the last 15 miles is just the distance from the Capitol to home or that’s no longer than one song: Led Zeppelin’s ‘Stairway to Heaven.’

I’ll let you know how my method holds up, tomorrow.

Made It

| August 2, 2016 | 0 Comments

I completed my day one of the ride, 75 miles.  It actually started out well.  The weather was cool and overcast.  There were a few hills, but not much.  I felt empowered.

We passed through some small farming towns and it was very scenic at the beginning.  I felt like the bicycle gods were smiling on us.

Over time, however, the sun began to peak through the clouds, the temperature rose and the scenery got pretty one dimensional.  Miles and miles of corn on one side of the road and soybeans on the other.

At the 67th mile, I was riding alone and spotted a rare shade tree.  I pulled over and sat under the tree.  My butt was as sore as could be and my knees were giving out.  The last 10 miles were a steady incline and I didn’t think I could take any more of that.

Then I looked at the route on my mobile phone and saw that I was at about the highest point in the ride and the rest was down hill overall.   That gave me the boost to go on.  And, although there were still a few up and down hills, the ride was easier.  I am still sore, though.

Here’s the scenery for about 65 of the 75 miles….

The road from Peoria to Gibson City

The road from Peoria to Gibson City


St. Ann’s Church in Peoria

| July 31, 2016 | 0 Comments

St. Ann's Church in Peoria

St. Ann’s Church in Peoria

I went to Mass today with the only two Catholics on the ride, Jennfer from Colorado, a biker, and Nate from Cleveland, the videographer. We went to St. Ann’s and I prayed that I can get my bike fixed before my ride starts tomorrow.

Here’s the coolest thing about St. Ann’s.  They have a bowling alley.  This how the website describes the origin of the bowling alley:

The St Boniface Bowling Alley was constructed in the 1940’s. During that time there was a law in place preventing the sale of alcohol before noon on Sundays. To get around this law, the men’s club built the bowling alley as part of their “private” club. Because the club was private, it allowed them the ability to serve beer before noon on Sundays.

No comment.


Getting the Bike Together

| July 31, 2016 | 0 Comments

First order of business was to reassemble my bike. Easier said than done. I was told to get “Mike the Mechanic” to do it. He’s the expert.

Unfortunately, my derailleur hanger was bent in transit. Turns out the bike store that packed the bike did a very poor job. Also, the brakes were stuck and there was a mysterious ping when the wheel spun.

Mike tried to straighten the hanger, but wasn’t confident it would shift gears properly. He said we should take it to a bike shop. Fortunately, Sunday is an off day, so there’s plenty of time to deal with this. Unfortunately, we are in the Bible Belt, so all the bike stores in the area are closed on Sunday. Closest open one is 47 miles away. So, that’s how I’ll be spending my Sunday.

First Christian Church of Peoria

| July 30, 2016 | 0 Comments

Tom Weber picked me up at the airport. He’s a good looking and  very fit 74 year old guy who’s done the cross country ride six years in a row. He also did a ride down the east coast, from Portland, ME to Key West. And a week later down the west coast.  Yeah, he’s pretty fit.

Looks like he took a page from Peter’s book on being secure in his masculinity. Peter wears multi-colored tights. Tom wears bright orange finger nail polish. What’s my thing going to be?  Not sure I’m quite so secure yet.

Tom took me to the Church where we’re staying. It’s the First Christian Church of Peoria.  The denomination is the Disciples of Christ. The church proper and its various rooms, offices, conference rooms are littered with sleeping bags and piles of clothes. I was told to choose a piece of floor and spread out there.

First order of business is to reassemble my bike, but I’ll need the assistance of the experts. And they have all made a shower run, going to a local Y or gym or pool. My bike will have to wait.

So, I’m sitting in a pew writing this.

Sitting on the Plane to Peoria

| July 30, 2016 | 0 Comments

After the cancellation yesterday, everything’s going pretty smoothly today. I was looking forward to the first class upgrade I got. Sadly, they had to switch planes. The good news, unlike those other unlucky 27 people, I did not get bumped. The bad news, no first class.

Things got awkward on the flight from DC to ORD. They had to move people around a bit because of the plane switch. I was moved from 3C to 1B. The woman who moved into my seat was extremely large. The guy who was next to me was not pleased and made a bit of a stink about his “downgrade.” I felt bad for the large woman.

On this flight, I’m in 2A, both a window and an aisle. It’s only about a 35 minute flight.

I will be picked up at the airport by Tom Weber. He has already picked up my bike.

I can’t recall when I’ve been in a situation like this. I have no idea what kind of experience I am entering. I do know I will be sleeping on a floor in a church tonight. Totally weird.