Cross country bikers rehab Fuller Center house in Springfield

Riders on the Fuller Center Bike Adventure have been biking across the country since June, making stops to serve others along the way.

Volunteers make seven stops on the 3,600-mile, 10-week trip, to do rehab work on Fuller Center houses — including two in Springfield.

The Fuller Center is a nonprofit that seeks to create decent, affordable housing for low-income families, many of whom are first-time homeowners.

Dave Clem, Executive Director at the Clark County Fuller Center for Housing, said the homes they remodel can be small or big projects, but he’s thankful for the boost from all of the extra pairs of hands.

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“You can really get a lot done in a day,” he said. “And it really helps us a lot because we run pretty much entirely off of volunteer labor.”

Bikers from all over the country started their trip in San Diego, Calif. They worked at locations on Linden Ave., Clifton Ave. and the Springfield YMCA on Tuesday. The majority of the volunteers spent time painting, covering up outdated paint colors and scuff marks.

Along the way, volunteers sleep in local churches. The group has also raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the nonprofit, and over $2 million since 2008.

“For me, a lot of it is thinking about it 20 miles at a time. Just go from one rest stop to the next rest stop,” said trip leader Joel Derksen. This will be his third time riding with the Fuller Center Bike Adventure.

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Derksen said the trip appeals to anyone who loves either biking or serving others.

“We all leave at the end of the ride as changed people in some way or another,” he said. “This gives us a chance to be part of the work of Fuller — not only through fundraising and speaking about what we do — but also get on a build site and swing a hammer, do some painting and really put our hands and feet into what we’re doing as well.

Clem said there will be four homes coming up that will need new owners, and encouraged people to apply. Families must meet three criteria including need, ability to pay and willingness to partner with the Fuller Center.

The volunteers left Springfield on Wednesday. Their next stop will be around Columbus and the end will be in mid-August in Ocean City, N.J.

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