Friday, May 30, 2008


We have had some interesting discussion thus far. I think we have discussed abortion, poverty, the environment, and race a few times so far. Actually, the group discussion between the six of us tends to be one of the most thought-provoking parts of our day.

I tend to look for subtle things during our interactions with different people. Sometimes I find that what is said at the dinner table doesn't match up with some of the off-hand comments I hear sometimes. I think as Christians in this society, we tend to be very loose and careless sometimes about how we use words. We use a lot of divisive, agenda-setting, and diminishing terms to describe difference. Since when did some of the following words become synonymous and start meaning the same thing?:

ethnic=minority=person of color
presence of non-whites=diversity
social justice=liberal=radical Christianity
ghetto=black/african-american community
Today we're in Placerville, California at the foot of the Sierra Mountains. Some of us are pretty sore and beat down in our bodies. It's only day FIVE? It wasn't an easy day but we're coming along. We had our picture taken in Folsom this afternoon, it was nice. So many people were asking us about the trip. It does me good to see people excited for us and to know that we are in their minds and hearts at one time or another. It makes a trip like this credible.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

from Davis, CA

We're all sitting in the shade at a beautiful park in Davis, California. I have just given up on importing pictures from my camera; I simply lack the technology savvy to do so! It feels good to rest, although our ride today was easier than yesterday, both physically and emotionally.

For those of you who know me and my distaste of lizards, you would be proud of me. Yesterday, as we changed our seventh (yes, that's right: SEVENTH!) flat tire, I took a potty break in a roadside ditch (behind lots of weeds) that I shared with a lizard. For the group, the seven flat tires were trying, but we learned a lot about our bikes and are rapidly improving our tire-change time. Hopefully we'll qualify to work for Tour de France riders after this summer.

Also yesterday, we shared in Antioch Covenant Church's Youth Group night. We had a good conversation about justice, and we continue to learn about what "Justice" means to each of us, and what it might mean for the team. It is a struggle to seek this desire of God's heart. Pray for us as we continue to learn across the country. And leave your thoughts about Justice here, too, if you have any. We welcome any addition to this process.

Today we rode across beautiful countryside, without any maintenance troubles, Thank God! Tonight, we potluck with a group from University Covenant Church here in Davis. Tomorrow: Sacramento!


pics added by matt:

Monday, May 26, 2008

Round Table Pizza, and Decoto Rd.

Here we sit in a Round Table Pizza restaurant in Fremont, CA, having left Redwood City earlier this afternoon.

We'd really like to thank all the people of Peninsula Covenant who gave us a very gracious send-off yesterday!

We're excited that we're finally on the road, all packed up and on our way. Much thanks to Tim, Kathy, Elle, Sam, and Hannah Sandquist for being amazing hosts. We never would have gotten our bikes ready and off on this journey without your help.

And thanks to Ron Dahlin as well, who got us off on the right foot with our first day from Ocean Beach and plotted out our route for the next few days.

And we can't forget our amazing advisor, Rich Johnson, who is sacrificing so much of his time and energy this summer to make this possible.

Please continue to pray for our strength and endurance - we're gonna be hitting the Sierras later this week.

I have been thinking a lot about what would be relevant to blog about. Is it important that you readers know how obsessed some of these bikers are with bears? Probably not, but now you know.

I know that my family is worried about me, which makes me feel loved. My friends have gone on having fun without me, and that makes me glad.

This trip has been surprisingly difficult for me thus far. I think the reason for that is the fact that I was sick Friday when I flew into San Fran. Word of advice: don't eat old spaghetti sauce. I'm thankful to my roommates and friends who had the strength to get me off the floor to the airport.

Right now I really want to watch Forest Gump. But Matt says that we get to bike through a dead camel desert or something or other near Fallon Nevada. Got to get ready.


Sunday, May 25, 2008

Yesterday was the first leg of our cross country trip. IT WAS HARD! IT HURT! I WANTED TO CRY! But, I finished the 40 something miles. Thank God, Ron Dahlin and George took time to teach me the ropes. Here is what I've learned so far:

1. Eat Breakfast.
2. Eat some more.
3, Drink Lots of Water.
4. Know when to switch bike gears.
5. Never, ever skip lunch again.
6. Buy more water bottles.
7. Stretch.

-Marcus Simmons

Friday, May 23, 2008

Travel Day

Well, it's been a roller coaster day already. Some of us are currently sitting in airports, some of us are in the air. Some of us, myself included are leaving for the airport soon. Emily's grandma passed away this week and she's staying at home until Sunday for the funeral so our hearts are with her and her family until she joins us Sunday night, just in time to start biking on Monday morning.

Not much is running smoothly right now, but hopefully we'll get out to San Francisco sooner rather than later.

Hopefully we'll be able to update again in the next day or two.

Peace in chaos,

Saturday, May 17, 2008

The final countdown, or something like it.

I've been told that my posts are a bit... verbose. So, I'll attempt to keep this one a bit shorter.

The group's been apart for about a week now. I've very much enjoyed my time at home with my parents. I miss my brother (who's still out in Seattle for school) and regret that this trip means I won't see him this summer. But it's been nice to relax and unwind before everything that's ahead of me.

Tonight I went book shopping. I hope to read a lot this summer, in our downtime when we camp or whatever. My plan is to carry only one book at a time, to minimize weight obviously. When I'm done reading it, I'll give it away and pick up a new one somewhere along the way. But the big question was what book to begin with. I chose a logical one, and one that I've been meaning to read for a while: Jack Kerouac's On the Road. Good choice? I hope so.

I'll end with this tacky countdown application that shows us all the time left until we land in San Francisco on Friday. Pray that we'll be ready in ways we didn't know how to prepare for.


Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

2 Weeks! 2 Weeks!

It's finals week and things are crazy around North Park these days. Everyone's swamped with work, catching up on all of the reading we should have been doing all semester but instead, we were planning a bike trip.

We had our final team meeting last night. We talked logistics for about an hour and a half, finding ourselves overwhelmed with the amount of work still to be done. There are so many loose ends heading into these two weeks at home before we fly out to San Francisco from our various homes across the country.

I'm trying to let go of worrying about all the details, trying to trust that there are people and powers working on our behalf and that the phone calls will be made and the maps will be drawn. The sparrows, after all, eat quite well.

After getting ourselves stressed out with details, we spent some time in prayer together. We broke bread together, serving one another communion, turning to the person next to us, looking them in the eye and saying it slowly, deliberately.

"This is Christ's Body, broken for you."

"This is Christ's Blood, shed for you."

It was good to celebrate together and to remember the heart of this trip. Christ's work on the cross and his triumph over the grave is the reason we ride. The kingdom made alive in the work of Christ is the reason we took on this trip, with all of its logistical nightmares and daunting physical, emotional, and spiritual challenges.

And we prayed together, yearning to be a part of the Kingdom work this summer. Christ is setting the captives free. He is breaking down the barriers that we've set up so firmly along racial and socioeconomic lines. And He is weeping with the mothers who have lost their children and with the widows who have lost their husbands. He is breaking through our segregation and our comfort. He is bringing us diversity and moving us gently, lovingly, towards the way life should be. He is moving us towards justice in our homes, in our churches, in our friendships, in our country, in our world. And we are thankful to be a part of it all and to be able to share the work with those we will meet. And we are humbled by the opportunity to learn about the work from those we'll speak to.

We've been getting a bit of publicity and we're thankful for that. Stan Friedman at the Covenant Companion wrote a nice article about us, which you can read here. One of my professors, Scot McKnight, also wrote us up on his blog, encouraging his readers to donate a few pennies for each mile we ride (all 3,700 of 'em)! Feel free to read about it and please consider making a donation to either Spark or Acirfa. Again, we're thankful for all of the people praying for us and supporting us in countless ways, visible and invisible.

Peace to you.