Jeff Green | Jul 15, 2005
Feature article, July 21, 2005
Feature article July 21, 2005LAND O' LAKES NewsWeb Home
deCycles: putting pedals to the mettle
by Meghan Balogh
On June 18, a group of 82 cyclists set out on a 1,500-mile journey. Their route will carry them from Bloomington, Indiana through Ohio, Ontario, Quebec, New York, and finally to their destination: Portland, Maine.
The deCyclers rode into Perth, Ontario at 4:30 on June 29, having completed 92 miles that day in seven and a half hours. Director Norm Houze shares, After going through the town of Tweed, there was nothing between there and Perth. So the riders put the hammer down and just speeded to the destination time. From Bloomington, Indiana, they had travelled more than 900 miles.
deCycles is an opportunity for young people to push themselves not only physically, but also mentally and spiritually. Everyone needs to renew themselves and get away from society, and see that theres another world out there, says director Norm House, a doctor practicing in Bloomington, Indiana. Dr. Houze is not only involved in the tour planning, but also supervises on-location for the 3-week journeys, and has completed 15 deCycles trips.
This year, half the riders on the trip are first-timers. However, this has not dampened their enthusiasm and determination. The youth taking part in this expedition exude confidence with all 82 of the group in the room, one can feel the camaraderie between them. Amazing kids! That's what they are, says Dr. Houze. And they cause quite a stir. Whether people are mowing the lawn, washing their car, or just standing around, when the riders ride by, everyone drops what they are doing to look at this super group of teenage cyclists.
The deCycles riders travel an average of 75 miles per day sometimes more or less depending on factors such as weather, traffic, and wind. Participating students are between ages 13-24, and from all corners of the United States: Oregon, California, Texas, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, North Carolina, Indiana and Ohio are just a few. They have also had a few Canadian cyclists join them in the past.
The youth group of Asbury Free Methodist Church in Perth rounded up their bikes and met the deCyclers outside town to ride in with them, and then fed and housed the cyclists for the night. Kim Adrain, youth leader, organized meals, swimming access at the public pool, and sleeping accommodations.
The students who come back from this adventure have wonderful things to say about the experience.
Abbey Martin, who has completed seven other deCycles trips in the past and is now an assistant staff, captured the spirit of this group with her comments: Ill never get over how 82 people who dont know each other can make a commitment to support, care for, and help each other while working toward the same goal: completing 1,500 miles by bicycle together. These trips have taught me patience, taught me to value community, and to invest in others. But its also taught me that we should never get too comfortable with what life feels like. DeCycles is about pushing yourself beyond your comfort zone.