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8-16-14 Bike for Life Pedals to Oshkosh from North Carolina
by Tamara Wolcott Fisher
People travel in a variety of ways to reach the Forever Faithful International Pathfinder Camporee held in Oshkosh, Wis., August 11-16, 2014. Many spend hours and arrive by bus, Pathfinders from other countries travel via airplane, but eleven Carolina Conference Pathfinders rode their bikes.
Ranging in age from 13 to 67, the Bike for Life group from the Carolina’s pedaled 830 miles to attend the international event. The group left Asheville on July 27 and arrived in Oshkosh on August 12 around 12:30 pm. According to rider Brian Aalborg, from Charlotte, the bike riders average 60 miles per day, with 110 miles on a long day and 40 on a short day. The group stayed in Adventist churches and schools or other faith community locations along the way and even took time to stop in Battle Creek, Mich., to tour Adventist village. They also took Sabbath off from riding.
“When I stared the ride I had not been on a bike for 6 weeks,” said Kathy New, who attends The Gate church in Canton, North Carolina, and sits on the Pathfinder Council for the conference. “The kids realized I could not keep up and the boys would ride in front on me and break the wind. The girls would say, ‘Come on Ms. Kathy. You can make it.’ It really encouraged me.” When people would find out one rider was 67 and that New was 64 they were surprised.
New said the first ride took place in 1999. The group was so impressed with the changes for both Pathfinders and adults that they decided to make the Bike for Life an annual event and they have done so every year, except one. The Pathfinder group rides for one week each summer to locations in the Carolinas and beyond.
Jordan Zinke and her dad, David, from the Greeneville Northstars Pathfinder Club in North Carolina, is age 13 and trained two months for the ride. She said the challenge for her was the headwinds because she is so light. “God blessed me because He made my will power stronger. I asked God to give me strength.”
David Zinke led the pack with a radio in one ear and directions in the other. “God blessed me. He allowed me to experience this with new people and a new sport,” said Zinke. “It is amazing when you get a bunch of people together that close doing something that is rigorous there is a lot of opportunity for people’s temperaments to come out. I think we really came through as a group and I think that our Christian experience came through.”
A challenge for Zinke along the trip was securing his cell phone to his bike. He tried three different devices and finally created his own with a belt clip. He is a mechanical engineer by trade.
The group also gave away Forever Faithful Tour brochures that share health information and websites directing people to Bible studies and health sites.