St. Helen Parish hosts cross-country bicyclists

Friday, Aug. 16, 2019
St. Helen Parish hosts cross-country bicyclists + Enlarge
A rider with the Fuller's Center Bike Adventure enjoys the hospitality of St. Helen Parish in Roosevelt.
By Special to the Intermountain Catholic

By Aldon Rachele

ROOSEVELT— The Fuller Center’s Bike Adventure passed through Roosevelt on its trek from Seattle, Wash. to Washington, D.C. On July 14, the group stayed the night at St. Helen Catholic Church.

The Fuller Center for Housing is a nonprofit, ecumenical Christian housing ministry dedicated to eliminating poverty housing worldwide. By forming partnerships with local organizations, the Fuller Center provides the structure, guidance and support that communities need to build and repair homes for the impoverished among them.

Millard and Linda Fuller, who founded Habitat for Humanity in 1976, started the Fuller Center in 2005. Fuller set out to expand his missionary vision by returning to his roots at Koinonia Farm, a cooperative community dedicated to peace and service in rural southwest Georgia. A new mission statement was issued at Koinonia, (also the birthplace of Habitat for Humanity), dedicating the Fuller Center as a Christ-centered, faith-driven organization witnessing the love of God by providing opportunities for families to have a simple, decent place to live.

“The Fuller Center provides affordable housing. We do a lot of houses from the ground up. The Bike Adventure gives public awareness to the Fuller Center. We also do house repairs,” said David Erquhart, a member of a group of support people.

The Bike Adventure will take nine weeks and 3,600 miles to complete in Washington, D.C. The 26 riders hail from numerous states, including Michigan, Ohio, Florida, California, North Carolina, Maine, Oregon and New Hampshire.

“We have one rider from England who took up bike riding and said that he would like to go across the USA,” Erquhart said. “On one pass it rained, hailed and snowed as we got to the top. From Heber City, we went 98 miles on June 30. The first 15 miles (Daniels Canyon) was all uphill. It is the longest day so far. Some did more pedaling to reach 100 miles.”

During their trip, the group helped on projects in American Fork and Kellogg, Idaho.

“We are letting people know about our projects. We are making a difference,” Erquhart said. “We are having fun and had ice cream at Granny’s Drive In in Heber.”

Among the riders is Jeff Bracken, who suffers from Usher syndrome, a condition characterized by hearing loss and vision loss that worsens over time. The vision loss is caused by retinitis pigmentosa, which affects the layer of light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye.

“It was raining and cold, plus the shoulder of the road was tough to ride,” Bracken said. “I have tunnel vision where I see straight ahead of me, but around me everything is black.”

Ginny Hughes, one of the first riders to reach Roosevelt, said the day had its challenges.

“We had some rain this morning and road construction made it kind of nasty as there was no shoulder to the road,” she said.  

Another rider, Jeff Gabriel, agreed.

“Today’s ride was tough as the first 18 miles was uphill with no breaks. It was all up, up, up to the top. Once we got there, it rained for the next 40 miles, but we made it there,” he said. “Thanks a lot for the spread of food from St. Helen’s.”

Dan Hepp is from Springfield, Ohio and was ready for bike-riding fun.

“The morning ride was a challenge with head winds and rain. We had to press Daniels Summit. I’m not a hill climber as Ohio is pretty much flat; I had to work,” he said.

The riders are accompanied by a support group that provides food and drinks at rest stops. Also, “We bring people forward if they are too tired to continue riding their bike,” Cindy Hepp said.    

Elliott Walda, from Michigan, was a trip leader. He organized the ride and led the riders along the route. “Most of the time we ride on the shoulder of the road if there is one, but legally we are allowed to ride in the lane,” Walda said.

For 12 years, hundreds of cyclists have participated in the Fuller Center’s Bike Adventure, raising money and building or repairing homes with families in need, and building friendships as they bike through America.

For questions, comments or to report inaccuracies on the website, please CLICK HERE.
© Copyright 2024 The Diocese of Salt Lake City. All rights reserved.