Tag: Fuller Center

The Simple Way

| August 29, 2018 | 0 Comments

Fuller Center riders enter the offices of The Simple Way.

At the start of each day on the Fuller Center Cross Country Bike Adventure, we have a “circle up,” where we get basic information about the ride ahead and, sometimes but not always, information about where we will be staying, which is almost always a church.  As we get to the end of the ride, my senses are heightened.  I begin take in the neighborhood to get some idea what the next 12 to 15 hours will be like.  I generally hope we will be near a commercial area where the basic needs are within walking distance, particularly things like IPA beer and ice cream.  You know, the staples.  I will also be interested in learning about the accommodations.  Will this be a big church with lots of room for our sleeping pads?  Or will we be tightly packed?  Will it have a lot of electrical outlets for all our rechargeable electronics, bike lights, smart phones, Apple watch, bike speaker, supplemental batteries, etc.  Will it have air conditioning?  How many bathrooms?  In-house showers or will we be shuttling offsite (and will the showers have hot water)?  A kitchen?  Will there be a welcoming committee of church members who can tell us about the town?  Will they be serving food?  Or will we just be handed the key and told to lock up when we leave?

The fact is that, after riding 70 plus miles on a bike, the answer to these questions are mostly academic.  It’s nice when we have a lot of creature comforts, but mainly what I want at that point is to stop riding a bike. Everything else is gravy.   For me, the exception is cold showers.  I HATE cold showers.  Every ride I’ve been on has had one or two.  It’s almost enough to keep me from coming back.  Almost. Continue Reading

The Best Shower….Ever!

| June 30, 2017 | 0 Comments

Now, THAT’S a shower!

It is difficult to overstate the importance of showers at the end of a day of riding. Fuller riders rely primarily on donated shower facilities in the cities and towns where we stay. Sometimes this is a local Y, sometimes a nearby school and sometimes the churches have shower facilities onsite. Occasionally, the church community enlists its members to offer their homes. On this trip, particularly in Washington Oregon, we used campgrounds. A couple of times, we ended up with only cold showers. Those were memorable and not in a good way.

Today, I and my fellow rider Lauryn Kostopoulos scored big time. The United Methodist Church of Vista

Patricia, me, Lauryn and Victor

Patricia, me, Lauryn and Victor

enlisted its community to open their homes to the riders for showers. Lauryn and I were among the last out and traveled to the home of Victor and Patricia. He’s a retired conservationist and she’s an amateur genealogist, a very cool couple. They also appear to appreciate good showers because their shower had about 8 nozzles, up, down and sideways. It was the best shower of the trip, maybe the best shower facility I’ve used this year. Nice that it came at the end of the ride.

Whitey’s Place

| June 28, 2017 | 0 Comments
Whitey hid in plain sight at this apartment building

Whitey hid in plain sight at this apartment building

I found time to stop by Whitey Buler’s “hideaway” in Santa Monica.  It took a little research to find it, since the owners changed the name of the apartment building from the Princess Eugenia to the Barbas Apartments.  And I did have to backtrack a bit, which annoyed my fellow rider, a young woman who had never heard of Whitey Bulgar.  But it was worth it.

If you want to hear a hilarious story told by the manager of the Princess Eugenia about when the FBI came calling, check out the episode of the Moth Radio Hour where he tells what it was like.






Gets Better

| July 2, 2016 | 0 Comments

I did some further bike repair today and it went much better. It proves the old saying that you learn more from failure than from success.

This morning I needed to move the gear shifter and the brake handles from one place on the handlebar to another. In my mind, I probably exaggerated the difficulty given my previous experience. But that caused me to think long and hard about how I was going to do it. Anticipate problems and figure out how to avoid them.

And it worked! Now, the bike is fully equipped for a long ride and I’ll test it out today on a trip to the annual Smithsonian Folklife Festival, my favorite event of the year.

Gets Worse

| July 1, 2016 | 0 Comments

This morning I got back at it.   I clearly hadn’t installed the handlebar properly which clearly contributed to my spill yesterday evening.  But after much trial and error, it seemed I had everything attached in the right place and the right way.  I made sure the brakes worked without locking up.   This time I put my helmet on and went out for another brief ride.  Now, the gear shifter was acting up.  I tried to shift the front gears and the chain came off.

Strangely, at that moment, a neighbor, a man of maybe 70, walking his dog offered help.  Seemed odd until he explained that he had sold his bicycle manufacturing company three years ago, so he knew a little something about bikes.  Turns out, he was no help with the bike, but had a fascinating story.  Was in the biking business for 40 years, sold his first company in the early 70’s.  Mentioned a bunch of brands that sounded familiar and told me the founders all worked for him.   He invented a number of seats and was surprised that I liked the weird seat I installed.

It was a nice chat and told him not to be surprised if I knocked on his door for some help or advice as I prepared for my trip.  He walked off and I hooked up the chain.  I continued my test run.

Within seconds of our chat, I shifted the back gear, everything seized and I heard a sickening grinding noise.  This time, it was the derailleur.  It was completely twisted and a gear was laying on the street.   An ugly mess.  The rear gears looked completely destroyed.  This was bad.

I brought my twisted mess to a local bike shop, expecting many hundreds of dollars and weeks of labor. But, it’s always darkest before dawn.

To my surprise, it was less than $100 to fix and I had my bike by the end of the day.  AND, he straightened out my handlebars and restrung the brake and gear cables.  Back in business.

Tomorrow, my first “dress rehearsal” into Rock Creek Park with my fully equipped bike.


Over the Top

| July 1, 2016 | 0 Comments
Here's what I hope will take me from Peoria

Here’s what I hope will take me from Peoria

This will be the first of my posts surrounding my charity bike ride from Peoria to Washington, DC in August.  It’s an inauspicious start.  I’ve been installing various upgrades to my bike, most recommended by my future riding partner, Peter Asmuth.  I successfully installed a weird seat that is much more comfortable than typical bike seats.   I also bought a Bluetooth speaker that works with my iPhone, since headphones are strictly prohibited.

Yesterday, I tried to install some fancy new handlebars.  Peter tells me it is important to be able to switch your grip periodically on long rides.  It was  much more difficult than I thought it would be.  I had to keep track of which side the brake handles and gear shifters needed to be.  And making them fit was a bit more of a challenge than expected.  After much fumbling around, I finally got everything attached and took the bike for a very short ride.

Didn’t go well.

Fortunately, I was moving pretty slowly when I came out of the driveway without my helmet. I gently squeezed the brake and the front wheel locked, launching me over the handlebars on to the street.

I blocked my fall with my hands, but I’ve got soreness in a number of places, hands, hips, shins. I put the bike away and came inside to nurse my wounds. Not sure if the problem is my installation or that I hit the brakes too hard. I’ll get back at it this morning.