A group of 25 bike enthusiasts, participants in an organization known as Fuller Center Bike Adventure, recently stopped in Hammond to help repair homes that still need help from hurricane damage. Ida from last year.
The stop in Hammond was a break from the bike ride that started in Panama City, Florida on February 25 and is scheduled to end in Galveston, Texas on March 13. While at Hammond, the riders helped build ongoing projects. by Ginger Ford Northshore – The Fuller Center for Housing, the organization that builds and repairs homes for people in need in the parishes of Tangipahoa and Eastern Livingston.
Neil Mullikan, a spokesman for the group, said the cyclists are also planning a three-day stop in Sulfur to help restore residences still in need of repairs caused by two hurricanes that hit several years ago.
Mullikan said his team averaged 77 miles a day when they were on the road. “We do it because we love to ride together and above all use our joy of cycling to raise funds and raise awareness of the need many have for housing. At the same time, we love being together and the friendships we make while we’re on the road,” he said. Runners raise funds for housing through donations from friends, families, churches and businesses who want to support the Fuller Center’s mission, Mullikan said.
Before embarking on any of their rides, cyclists plan their routes where they can use bike paths, secondary roads and sometimes major highways, Mullikan said, adding that their routes always include planned stops where groups Fuller Center locals can use help to build new homes. or repair those that have been damaged.
During the route, Mullikan said, riders stay in churches at night. “We live very simply…we sleep on floors and cots…everywhere we can find accommodation,” he said. While in Hammond, the cyclists were housed at First Christian Church and First Presbyterian Church. On their first night in Hammond, local volunteers prepared a meal for the riders at First Christian Church. A van accompanies the runners and carries their bedding, clothing and tools they use to work on the houses at the scheduled stops.
The Fuller Center Bike Adventure focuses on serving God and each other to raise money for families around the world building and repairing homes through the Fuller Center for Housing, Mullikan explained. He said, “You don’t have to be a believer to ride with us, but at the same time most of our riders benefit from participation by sharing Christ’s love for all. That’s what we are called to do in this mission…share the love of Christ wherever we go.
Mullikan said the benefits of cycling are many. “When you ride a bike, you are close to your surroundings. You can see the beauty of the world all around you. On the road, we meet beautiful and wonderful people and we meet people who are committed and ready to help others. To be a part of that is kind of a relief from the negative things that are happening in our world,” he said.
The Fuller Center Bike Adventure began in 2008 and has since sponsored many rides. Mullikan said he was on six of the rides and rode one ride that went from Slidell to Cleveland, Ohio. This trip was billed as a trip from Lake Pontchartrain to Lake Erie. The ride took riders through the Mississippi Delta, to the Natchez Trace, then through bike paths to Ohio.
This summer, some of the group who visited Hammond are planning a bike ride from Oregon to Maine. Mullikan said the journey would take about 10 weeks. He said the potential cyclists for such a long trip are students, teachers who have the summer and retirees who just like to take long bike rides. Fred Smoak, 70, a retiree, was part of the group crossing southeast Louisiana. He said age was not a factor in his participation in the long Fuller Adventure rides.
Tamara Danel, who for many years served as executive director of the local Fuller Center organization, and Stacey Morris, director of Fuller Center Disaster Rebuilders, greeted the runners as they arrived in Hammond. Morris worked directly with the volunteer cyclists.
Danel, who remains involved with the Fuller Center in Hammond, said her group was thrilled to welcome the Bike Adventure team to Hammond.
“Not only will they help us with some projects, but they will educate our community about the need for housing assistance,” Danel said. “These are exceptional men who are truly dedicated to the mission of Fuller Center and we very much appreciate what their visit means to our local efforts. Visiting and working with this exceptional group has been most rewarding and a boost for our group. Fuller Center room.”