Sunday, July 8, 2007


First post from Iowa.

I don't know how or why but at some point between when I was born and the beginning of this summer, I got the image in my head of a flat Iowa. IT IS NOT FLAT. It's also not brown and plain like I imagined. It's beautiful rolling hills of farmland. The sky seems bigger here, the colors richer.

Yesterday, I rode 87 miles. The day before that we rode 100. The day before, 88. That's why yesterday Amelia and I were in hysterics. When it's 95 degrees with a tremendously strong headwind and you get 8 miles out of your way and have to backtrack over a hilly gravel road, there's no better solution than laughter. I thought I was laughing hard the other day when Marie and Derrick and I were riding together and making up new lyrics to "She'll Be Comin' 'Round the Mountain." This topped even that. It was different laughter, I suppose. A reaction to that sort of ridiculous humor that these outrageous conditions embody. You can't do anything but laugh, and then suck it up and climb the hill while your back tire spins and your bike threatens to jump right off the road, all the while you're covered in dust because a 2 ton truck just drove by and spit up all the loose gravel. Oh, and you're covered in sweat so it all sticks to you. But it was hilarious. HYSTERICAL. Had we gone crazy? Maybe so. The "shower" we found awaiting us at the church in Marshalltown was probably the best I've ever had in my life -- a hose and an empty bottle of Dasani that we refilled with handsoap from the bathroom. What a day.

PS - We crossed the Mississippi River!


A Visit Coordinator said...

Several from our church have been following your group's journey with interest. One of them contacted me, as I had helped to coordinate the efforts to feed and house the group here. I was sad to see this picture as it puts those traveling with Bike & Build in another light. It takes the focus off affordable housing and replaces the good feelings that had been left behind from your visit with other thoughts. I know next year it may be more difficult to convince members of our church to house the group coming through.

Anonymous said...

I was impressed with the goals of your group and the attitude your riders displayed. Unfortunately, some of the photographs displayed on this site indicated a total lack of maturity and common sense. Small children (who looked up to these people for what they were doing)are following this group on the web. The pictures in front of a corn field certainly do not reflect a very positive image of the group. This "image" is not conductive toward gaining support for the groups stated goals --- but it does have a negative impact on the perceived character of all the riders who took part. This example is not what we want to lift up as a role model for our children.

travelling terra said...

I sincerely apologize on behalf of the entire group. I want to stress and reiterate our commitment to the affordable housing cause and also to maintaining the positive image of Bike and Build. I read and understand your concerns and have removed the photo from my site. I hope you will accept my apologies and remember the feeling you got from our group when we shared your company, because that is truly the sentiment we are trying to deliver.

A Visit Coordinator said...

Thank you for removing the picture and for responding to the concerns of those who wrote. Your apology and quick action means a lot.