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  • Timothy Bruce

Back on the bike with so many friends again!!

Guess what!?

I’ve arrived back in the USA for another charity bike ride! This one, however, is different because we are not going anywhere other than Ohio. Yes, it is another Fuller Center ride but this is a fun one as it is a reunion ride for anyone who has done a Fuller Center ride in the past and is about raising funds to replace one of the support vehicles. Each of us has contributed at least $500 to the cost of this and paid for our accommodation and breakfasts. Any costs from cafe stops and evening meals is down to the individuals on the ride.

We will be staying at Faith Community United Methodist Church on the outskirts of Xenia and riding a combination of roads and trails with stops at cafes and ice cream shops, whilst adopting the ‘living simply so that others can simply live’ philosophy and sleeping on the floor at the church. The ride is only a week long but we should clock up good miles as we cycle the relatively flat state of Ohio. In 2022, I did ride to the ‘high point’ in Ohio with Dan Sheridan, who I will see again during this week, along with a whole load of familiar faces from the 6 events I’ve done with the Fuller Center for Housing.

Just under 50 of us will be sharing the experience and creating a whole new bunch of memories in the process! Fun! 😁

I am currently staying with my great friends Dan & Cindy Hepp in Springfield, (not far from the Simpsons! - only joking) and we are some 20 miles from Xenia. I first met Dan and Cindy in 2019 when Dan and I both retired from full-time work to cycle across the USA and we immediately became friends. We often refer to each other as our ‘twin brother from another mother’ and we have been mistaken for each other on a few occasions!

Tomorrow evening Mark & Jami Kinser will be arriving for supper and I have not seen Mark since, again, the 2019 cross-country ride and I have yet to meet Jami in person, though we have spoken on video chats. Mark is the constant source of encouragement as I am still a relatively new cyclist having only taken up cycling in 2019. He often makes comments about my rides on Strava, the platform where I record my rides, and in under 5 years I have now clocked up just under 18,400 miles and raised some $14,000 in the various adventures!

What is not to like!!?? I now have a whole bunch of great friends with which I have shared a number of rides and now I will be able to see some of them again and have some fellowship and fun together!!

My bike, ‘Uncle Sam’ will be making the journey up to Ohio on Monday with Mark Murphy, with whom I stayed on my last bike ride earlier this summer following the East Coast ride. In the meantime, Dan Hepp has a bike I can use and I rode his Trek bike when I did the Gulf Coast ride in spring of 2022.

In the scriptures it says that we should ”give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” - 1 Thess 5v18. I have many things to give thanks for! My wife, my family, my home, etc. but a major part of my life since 2019 has been the impact of all my newfound friends in the USA. It delights my heart to have met so many good folk who are starting to give me so many reasons to keep coming back to this great country.

So that’s it for now. Sending my love to you all, especially my supporting wife and family back in the UK. ❤️

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