One week done

A week of cycling is already behind us. For some of the cyclists it seems like we’ve been riding forever, I’ve heard the phrase “So where are we actually right now?” more than once, I on the other hand feel like we just started and am only beginning to catch on to the whole process.

My apologies about the GPS unit. As you probably know if you looked, the GPS tracking didn’t really work all so well. I think it only recorded twice. These are the problems of running a self contained unit. When it doesn’t work the amount of trouble shooting that you can do is quite limited. The self contained satellite internet connection has been suffering the same fate, not a lot of options as far as fixing is concerned, when it works it works and when it doesn’t it doesn’t.

So since I last posted I rode one day as part of the sweep team. It seems that people appreciated the list of names and locations so I’ll try it again even though some of these huge groups are tricky to remember. Art Smit, Eritia Smit, Justin Helder (Ontario) Clare Kooistra (BC) Lynn (No idea where she’s from) Jessica Fox (Michigan) and Shawn (also no clue) We spent the day playing catch-up and wait with a few other groups which was OK, we rode in the rain all day long but it was warm and things weren’t terribly muddy so not a ton of trouble. Following the ride everyone at camp had the same bright idea to clean their bikes at the same time so we had a huge bike cleaning party on the lawn of a school. Doing so without a shirt wasn’t the brightest idea as I am unbelievably white in the non-tanned areas. Following a visit to the local ice cream shop and dinner put on by the local CRC church we headed out to celebrate independence day with fireworks and root-beer floats. The show was pretty good but staying up past 10 pm is really late these days and the 10:30 bed-time was a bit of a stretch.

Saturday we rode downhill again along the Yakima river through a beautiful valley with cliffs along the sides and orchards and vineyards surrounding us. The riding group was Kyle (BC) Stephanie Webb, Julia Wissink (Ontario) and Jenna Zee (Edmonton) and myself. Excellent tailwind on Saturday but the weather once again was a scorcher. We’re currently camped in a park along the Columbia river which serves as our shower and is full of some huge trees. We’ve had the slackline out and about as many people are trying it as there are taking pictures of those who are using it. Photos are pending successful upload… we’ll see how successful that is today.

I’d describe the flavour of the week thus far as one of unity. It’s funny that I mention that in my prayer requests for the past week, with 150 people coming throughthis website each day there are obviously some who are reminding God that we’d really love to be blessed in that way. It’s great that fewer and fewer conversations begin with “I’m Josh and I’m from Calgary, well Edmonton really these days, but I grew up in Calgary”… names are being stored in the head and I think I’ve only got 30 or so more to go. While everyone knowing one another on a first name basis isn’t really the best metric by which to measure community it is one of the only ones I can think of to put into words. I hope it does communicate the amount of effort that so many people are putting in to building relationships amongst the cyclists and support crew. I’m not talking even talking about romantic relationships (there’s a few forming and are an excellent source of humour for the rest of us… I’m not sure if I’m at liberty to mention those two so I won’t quite)

How else can I describe the unity of this team? Well I’ve got a couple examples. Canadian cyclists outfitted all of the riders for independence day with flags for their bikes following the singing of O-Canada at our evening meeting on Tuesday. There have been in excess of 30 flats for the last two days on the road… there are typically a dozen people stopped to watch (tyre changing is a one man job but the moral support is thick!). (Photo of the most hilarious occurrence is about 25 cyclists “helping” to fix a flat just outside Zillah in photo gallery). Then one of the more humourous ones. About 60 cyclists headed around the corner from the park last night to find a beer. The local sports bar was filled with 90% cyclists and they needed to send the guy running Karaoke out to buy more cups from Safeway because there were just so many people. There was line dancing, pool, two stepping and a rousing rendition of “Amazing Grace” done by one of the chaplains (Markus Lisse) that was drown out after two lines by the rest of the bar rising to their feet (locals included) and joining in.

Prayer requests for the next week:

  • Safety – this past week has seen more falls from bikes each day than I was aware of occurring all of last summer with my riding partners. No-one’s injuries are severe but they do bring a lot of stress to medical people as well as the group as a whole.
  • Awareness – Riders have been challenged to each have a conversation each day with someone at the side of the road as a bare minimum. These conversations are highlights each day for myself as well as many other riders. Please pray that God would use these conversations in mighty ways to challenge and change perspectives, injustices and apathy surrounding poverty. We’re cyclists, not spokespeople by training but by God’s grace we have the opportunity to make big influences. While the 144 conversations each day is a minimum there are hundreds more than that (thousands more might be a stretch this past week, but God is a big God and we’re only getting more comfortable with it)

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