Aug 8, 2005

We were their second to their last destination when the 2nd annual United Church of Christ's 2005 Bicycling Adventure rode into town last Thursday afternoon. Little Brown Church of Sunol members graciously provided a delicious meal, hot showers and a place to lay their head for the night as they hosted the group from several UCC churches.

Sponsored by the First Congregational Church of Palo Alto, organizers Russell and Sheila Stevens embarked on this very same journey last year when they developed the idea to raise funds and awareness for UCC's Our Church's Wider Mission program. The group travels from church to church encircling the entire bay on their one week journey.

Russell said," It's magical! One thing I noticed last year is definitely true again this year and many of the new riders this year have noticed that you sign up for this because you are interested in going on a bicycle ride and what you find out is that the bicycle ride is really secondary to what's happening on the trip. What's happening is that you are meeting these people that are welcoming you into their churches and their homes and you are building relationships. Not only does it allow our riders to experience what its like to have a Christian community welcome you but it also gives each of the Christian communities we visit the chance to do that welcoming and both of them feel really good".

Their journey this year brought together eight adults and four youths for this bicycle adventure. After receiving a "blessing of the bikes" at their Palo Alto church on July 31, they traveled 40 miles to St. John's UCC in San Francisco, the next stop was 35 miles to Fairfax, then 50 miles to Sebastopol, 60 miles to Vallejo and 55 miles to the Little Brown Church. They then traveled from Sunol approximately 60 miles to San Jose and then the last 25 miles to where it all began, ending in Palo Alto on August 6. The bicyclists were also treated to special luncheons with stops in Woodside, Sonoma and Danville. They traveled a total of approximately 325 miles and visited eleven churches, all in seven days!

More Fire News---I received some interesting information from Guin Van Dyke and her son Treg whose home was very near to the recent grass fire. Guin tells me that she was out of state, in Louisville, Kentucky to be exact, attending daughter Sarae's Acrobatic Gymnastic National Championship competition when she received a phone call from a friend alerting her to the fire and asking if any other family members were home and offering assistance with the family's animals.

Guin said her husband Korbin, daughter Katie and son, Treg were home but had stepped out for a few moments when the fire struck. She said thankfully that the fireman went into her home and carefully placed her cats in a back room and covered the outside rabbit hutch with throw rugs to keep them safe. When Guin's family had arrived back home there were three fire trucks in the driveway and several firepersons on the lawn protecting their home.

Treg wrote, "The closest the fire got to my house was just on the other side of the road. The fire got within 20 feet of our neighbors propane tank. Luckily no people or homes were harmed." He added, "I must admit I was very surprised with the prompt arrival, seemingly large force and effective methods shown this day by the firefighters. Thank You."

As for Sarae's competition, she placed 6th after previously taking home gold medals for the California State Championships and Regional Championship. Eleven of the forty teams competing in Kentucky were from California. "We are very proud of her" said Guin.

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