Mercy Riders

Pushing pedals, pushing hope

Gratitude to those who made this ride possible

The 2013 Mercy Ride is complete. Our mission to raise awareness and support Mercy Housing during our 3,600 mile journey yielded several thousand online visits and nearly hit our contribution goal. We riders, in turn, experienced the wonders of 13 states, beautiful in both scenery and people. With heartfelt gratitude, there are many organizations and people who deserve mention.

Mercy Housing – this special organization gave us a true reason to be riding, drawing from the action of wheels and pedals, sore legs and rear ends, greater purpose, in serving the homeless in 42 states. Thirty years ago, the Sisters of Mercy and members of other women’s religious groups, formed this organization to meet the needs of the homeless. Meeting current staff and today’s residents, then riding with them when we came to Chicago was amazing!

Employers and Loved Ones – we could not have attempted this journey without the support of those for whom we work and love. Six weeks away from home urges much thanks, especially from employers not obligated to share loved ones’ commitment to the dreams of their beloved. In deep gratitude, I want to personally thank my Roche managers, Frank and Annette, as well as my colleagues for supporting our journey. The corporate culture of Roche rates it in the top 100 places to work!

The Mercy Rider TeamGreg Duffner crystallized his cross-country ride dream — 30 years in the making — in the Mercy Ride and our team formed around that dream. We rode unencumbered with luggage through Greg’s neighbor who arranged for our Sprinter van, which Greg customized for the trip. The team formed a family on the road, looking out for one another. Our family adopted Claire Reinbold along the way. Every day, Barb and Michelle (and sons Mark and Matt) drove to many, many water and food rendezvous, cooked great meals, eagerly consumed by ravenous appetites, laundered stinky clothes and discovered great spots upon which to lay our heads at night.

Sponsors and Donors – while our word-of-mouth, on-the-road conversations have increased recognition of Mercy Housing’s national presence and work, those who donated in $5 or $100 bills, in-person on-the-road, and the dozens who contributed online and by mail, made tangible their support for Mercy’s efforts, on behalf of their residents. Humble thanks to every donor and to our major sponsors who put our funding goal within the realm of possibility!

Places and People – we stopped at multiple intervals to find food and refill water bottles at convenience stores, bars and fast food places, and ended our days pitched in tents on public and private grounds and parks, or housed within family homes, churches. We met so many wonderful people, and I hope that, with the help of the Mercy Rider team, we can call out as many as possible here as we re-enter our regular lives and think back to this adventure.

Car and Truck Drivers – for every driver who had a problem with our line of cyclists partially obstructing a driving lane, there were a hundred who gave us wide berth who have our thanks, especially the semi-drivers who waited to pass us entirely in the other lane. Especially on U.S. Route 285 as we made our way into Littleton, CO.

Cell Service Providers – between ATT, Verizon and Sprint, we managed to stay mostly in touch by phone when it mattered, with a few exceptions in the less populous western mountains and plains states.

Technology – our web outreach relied on several vendors and providers, including Hover.com for domain hosting (and wonderful nonprofit support), Godaddy.com for web services, Flickr, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and Mailchimp.com for emailings.

God – the Alpha and Omega, from the Pacific to the Atlantic Ocean, that love which drives the mission of Mercy Housing and its services to people has its ultimate origin in faith in a creator of both the physical beauty we saw on our journey and that which we felt in the beautiful kindness of strangers who knew neither us nor Mercy before we rode up on bicycles. Each morning our team prayed that that love would guide our actions and protect us.