“It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” –Ernest Hemingway
As I’m writing this, I’m actually getting propelled back and forth in my bus seat between San Pedro Sula and Tegucigalpa, two of Honduras’ largest cities as we careen around winding roads and repeatedly crest rolling mountaintops. I made this same journey about two weeks ago, only then I was peddling through traffic, navigating slick roads and jutting around pot holes on a bicycle! You know, it’s funny- you really do get to know a place better on bike than you do in a vehicle. For instance, despite the fact of making this journey a few times, I never noticed that from San Pedro to Lake Yojoa, there’s actually a nine mile long hill! Nine miles!! But let me tell you, you definitely notice that hill when you have to bike up it!
Biking is new for me- I’m actually a runner at heart- but when I learned of the group Transformemos Honduras biking coast to coast in Honduras at the start of January, I thought to myself, ‘That sounds like something a Trekker would do!’ And hence began the preparations. Nine days, eight cities, five UrbanTrekkers volunteers, 80+ bikers, 300 miles of road, and 19,000 feet of elevation climbs later…we made it to San Lorenzo on Honduras’ south coast. One of our goals was to raise $10,000 for the start of the UrbanTrekkers Honduras program in 2014. We blew our goal out of the water by reaching $13,000 by the end of January! What an exhilarating way to start off the year!
While sharing the mission of UrbanTrekkers Honduras, our second goal was to contribute in a real way to transformation in Honduras’ educational system. In joining the cause to help transform a nation, I found myself transformed in many ways as well. Riding a bike is faster than running, but it is definitely slower than a motor vehicle. But that whole slowing down thing isn’t a bad thing. Like I said, you get to know a place way better that way, in part because you are taking the time to do so. I now know this highway between San Pedro and Tegucigalpa turn by turn and hill by hill…oh…the hills… but you know what? Honduras doesn’t seem so big any more. Before it felt like an impossibility to ever try and explore such a huge place. Now I know that it’s more than possible- it’s something that any of our youth can do if they’re willing. And that is what Trekkers is all about. It’s about taking time to notice the things we normally breeze by so quickly. It’s about getting to know our creator and His creation. It’s about pushing yourself to do hard things and be all God intended you to be.
A huge thank you goes out to all those who rallied behind us as we embarked on this journey. Whether you were one of the bikers who flew in from UrbanPromise Camden, an encouraging Facebook comment-er, a supportive family member, or someone who donated a bike, gear, or money towards our fundraiser, THANK YOU! MIL GRACIAS!
May you take the time today to slow down and get to know the contours of life…
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