RSSCategory: Biking

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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A Graceful Finish

| July 1, 2017 | 0 Comments

Connor tries to fix Anna's bike

Connor tries to fix Anna’s bike

The last day of the Fuller Center West Coast Bike Adventure offered an example of selflessness that helped define for me the overall experience of doing this ride.

First, it should be understood that, in addition to supporting the mission of housing for the poor that animates the Fuller Center, people on the ride bring different personal goals to this adventure. For instance, some people are dedicated to ride every mile on their bike. Others are willing to ride the support van for some segments, for physical or mechanical reasons. There is no pressure to ride every mile, not by the Center and not by the other riders. It’s a purely personal goal.

Here’s what happened.

Anna Lea Little rode every mile on this trip, over mountains, through craggy bike trails, into and out of

Ann Coleman getting Anna started

Ann Coleman getting Anna started

canyons, in 100 degree sun and 50 degree rain. On our last day, as she began the climb up the biggest hill of the day at Torry Pine, her derailleur broke in a way that couldn’t be fixed. She was 18 miles away from the finish after riding more than 1,600 miles over the course of a month. Our young leader, Connor Ciment, tried diligently to get the bike fixed, even trying to turn Anna’s bike from a 22 speed into a one speed. Nothing worked. Anna was devastated.

First Good Samaritan helps with the climb

First Good Samaritan helps with the climb

Not to be deterred, the group working on the problem came up with a solution that preserved Anna’s goal. Anna got on her chain-less bike, Ann Coleman held her up and ran along side her to get her up to speed and Connor put his hand on Anna’s back and began to push her up the hill. It was tough going.  Even Connor acknowledged, he was struggling.

Then, an added bit of grace occurred when two other bikers encountered the scene and offered to help. Essentially, they formed a flying wedge, with one pushing Connor and one pushing Anna to get them over the hill at Torry Pine. Connor continued to push Anna for seven miles to the next rest stop, where they did, in fact, turn Anna’s bike into a one-speed. And she rode the rest of the way, which still included some pretty big hills. She achieved her goal and we all got the most inspirational story of the trip.

Connor, Anna and the chainless bike

Connor, Anna and the chainless bike