Troyer Bikes Across America

by Lisa Hendrickson

Anne Troyer, graduate of Shickley High School Class of 2008, has quite a story to tell when her friends at Goshen College in Indiana ask her what she did this summer. Her goal was to cross the country, 3,600 miles, from Washington State to Washington D.C., on her mountain bike, fondly named Jean Louie Friedrich Gan II.

When I spoke to her in Manhattan, Kan., she and the group of 30 bikers, all riding to raise funds for the Fuller Center for Housing, were half-way toward reaching that goal. This non-profit, faith-based organization raises funds to build energy-efficient, affordable housing for those in need.

Those who join the ride are asked to raise $3,600 each. Anne is getting nearer to that goal. Anne states on the website for the project, “Besides the pure awesomeness of being able to say I rode my bike across the country, I wanted to do this bike adventure because I see the Fuller Center as an organization that is really working for justice. We are humans, a broken yet somehow beautiful people, striving for wholeness. The only way I know to strive for wholeness is through community. I believe in this world that we can love, learn and liberate, if we only take action. My faith calls me into action. I know this isn’t going to solve all the world’s problems, but hey, got to start somewhere right?”

As the riders continued their trek, they promoted the Fuller Center cause and had several stops that were work days on the actual houses. One day Anne loaded debris headed for the dump, another project found her putting in insulation. They had seven work days in which they participated.

The group traveled along with a van and a trailer full of supplies. They slept at scheduled stops where they were taken in, usually at local schools, and found the caring hospitality of communities to be inspiring. Churches often brought in meals.

The bikers themselves worked as a community, divided into groups that assigned chores for the week, ranging from grocery shopping and meal preparation to laundry and packing.

Some challenges Anne faced include many flat tires, which she learned with practice to skillfully change, and the rider’s common foe, “biker’s backside” for which she tried many remedies.

Miles each day varied, some 45 miles to 90-plus. The range of landscapes varied from very flat roads to steep inclines in the Cascade Mountains, where the elevation rose 3,600 feet in three miles.

Riding conditions also varied. One day Anne started riding in a bone chilling 38 degrees which then progressed to a blistering 100 degree afternoon. Another ride ended in her getting caught briefly in a hailstorm.

When asked what the highlight of the trip had been thus far, she quickly replied, “Getting together with my family!” as she sat around the table with her Manhattan, Kan., relatives and her hometown Shickley family, made up of her mom, Mary; sister, Kristin, and great-aunts, Loretta, and Dorothy Troyer, who all eagerly came to see Anne and to help prepare supper for the group featuring Anne’s favorite, homemade tacos.

An update from Anne this past week said they safely finished the route on August 13, and 13 flat tires later, she rode into Washington, D.C.

If you would like to help Anne finish her fund-raising, contact the Facebook page of the Fuller Center for housing.

For more photos and information about the ride, go to http://fullercenter.org/bikeadventure.

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