We hit 1000!

It seems like so long ago, when Rebekah and I where being driven to the beach May 1st for our trip departure. I must admit my nervousness overpowered any other feelings that day, especially when sitting on a loaded bike for the first time. I’m sure I didn’t instill a lot of confidence in my parents when I was wobbling around and insisting to take practice loops in the parking lot before I hesitantly biked off.  Thankfully, it was a pretty flat day because it took me until mile 25 to build up enough confidence to move my hands from my handlebars to shift gears. And let me tell you, I was more than thrilled to make it to our first destination.

Our schedule has been pretty fixed thus far. Every night we have a place to stay, with a warm shower and food waiting on us. It’s been really nice, and hasn’t gotten to tiring yet being in a new place with new people every night. But after doing some heavy climbing in the Pennsylvanian mountains, we decided, for the first time, to diverge from our planned schedule and change route. On the way to Camp Harmony, in Hoorversville, PA a guy stopped to talk, and told us about the Allegheny Gap Trail, a trail that goes from DC to Pittsburgh. Although it would add 30 miles onto the trip, we decided a trail definitely beats mountains. And, we were super glad we made this choice! The trail has some gorgeous sites and is pretty flat! The following day, we biked the 30 miles out of the way, to get on the trail, and then biked another 70 miles on the trail! Our first century!! 100 miles in one day!! Rebekah has done centuries before, but this was my first! Then when adding up the miles that night, from the last two days, I kept getting a total of 1001 miles. I had to do the math a couple times to make sure I was calculating correctly, because I couldn’t believe it, we did our 1st 1000 miles! Whoo hoo!!IMG_4155

Since May 1st, I’ve learned a lot about biking. How to dismount off my bike by standing on my pedal instead of remaining on my seat, how to switch hand grips without swerving to much, how to change gears at the right time so I don’t get stuck on a mountain in high gear.  There’s still much to learn, I haven’t been able to figure out how to mount my bike easily without my pedal in just the right spot, or how to start my bike on an uphill, I still get mixed up with which directions my gears should go, and drafting is still something that makes me nervous more then helps me.  And every morning, I’m still a little tense when taking those first few pedals when taking off.IMG_4147

It’s a little funny, because I still don’t consider myself a biker. There’s still so much to learn, and I still have a ways to go before my bike becomes my new best friend. But, 1000 miles is definitely a step in the right direction.

This weekend we’re headed to the Young Adult Conference of the Church of the Brethren. One of our first big stops along our journey. I think for Rebekah and I, this landmark has been one we’ve been looking forward, and at times has been a distant goal. And now we’re here!  The first weeks have been a whirlwind and often times have seemed unreal, but with the combination of going to this conference, biking a century, and hitting 1000 miles, this trip is finally starting to sink into reality.


pittsburgh, PA

Life is like a Bike Ride

Hello all!

We were around Maitland, PA area spending time with Chelsea’s relatives.  We biked in after riding 72 miles-arriving at at Chelsea’s aunt and uncle’s house. We some how found a route that avoided the major hills or mountains coming into Chelsea’s relatives house! The next day we biked 12 miles to Chelsea’s grandma house and spent some time with her and Chelsea’s aunt,  along with Chelsea’s cousin and his family!
Chelsea's Relatives!
We have been on the road for 16 days and it has been fun and challenging.  We have already had friends join us on a day ride or for multiple days. Chelsea is often times the technology person making contact with folks we will be staying with or can be found updating the blog.  I often am working on finding the best route possible for the next day. Though we have different things we work on, we end up working on both things together when we need it. I can’t always guarantee that we won’t get lost:)
Throughout our journey already, we have found so many good people.  People are always coming up to us at gas stations, or on the grass patch during our breaks. They are often curious about what we are up to and ask if we need anything. Coming into Charlottesville, VA after about 70 miles of riding up and down constant hills we took a break three miles before we got to my friends house for the night.  A person stopped on the side of the rode and told us that when he was our age he did the exact thing we are doing. He said he needed to go pick up his kid from school but would be coming back our way with gatorade and some bananas. What a treat that was!
Biking to me is always a constant reminder about life and how we choose to treat each life situation that comes up. Sometimes when we are on our bikes we are going downhill and it is amazing-its a good time.  We also bike through beautiful terrain and get to meet great people. But we also hit big steep hills and mountains and we take them on slowly.  Sometimes it feels like we will never get up them, but we do.  Often times we take breaks up the hill or at the top of the hill but we slowly get past the difficulty.  We have to be forgiving with each other when things don’t go the way we want them to be or when we mess up.  We are quite vulnerable in this biking adventure but it also shows part of our humanity. We have difficulties in life, it is real, and we must move forward (and good times do come!). If we are honest with ourselves that is how our life often tends to be.
We have so much more to learn on this biking adventure.  We are thankful for all the hospitality that has been granted to us, all the hugs, food and good times we have had with people.  We are also thankful for your thoughts and prayers during our times of difficulty and fun.
We are glad that you all are in this adventure together with us!
Much love and hugs,
Maitland, PA

Way Overdue

We’re on day 11 of our journey, taking a much needed rest day in Baltimore! We’ve had a great first few days, have met some awesome people, stayed with many hospitable host, seen beautiful sites, and already climbed lots of hills! For those interested in our day to day adventures, here’s some highlights from our first week:

May 1st: Hampton, VA to Williamsburg, VA – 40.7 milesimage

  • This was my first day ever with a loaded bike and geez is it different! I was to scared to shift gears for the 1st 25 miles, but thankfully it was mostly flat.
  • We got escorted down a busy road by police vehicles.
  • Saw Colonial Williamsburg and made it to William and Mary where we stayed the night with David and his apartment-mates

May 2nd: WIlliamsburg, VA to West Point, VA – 35 miles

  • Reevaluated our packing and got rid of few things
  • Stayed with Jared and Doug Erbaugh!

May 3rd: West Point, VA to Mechanicsville, VA – 42.4 milesimage

  • Biked home and got to see my family!
  • Detoured by flooding, but we made it there before lunch
  • Went to Arts in the Park

May 4th: Mechanicsville, VA – Charlottesville, VA – 79 milesimage

  • A hard day of biking with so many hills!
  • We ran into so many great people who were very generous.  We got fruit from a farmer’s market, prayer and a wrench from a Baptist church, and Gateraid and bananas from a fellow biker who saw us exhausted on the side of the street
  • We also had a dinner at our host Jen’s house, where we got to see a few people we knew!

May 5th: Charlottesville, VA to Bridgewater, VA- 73 milesimage

  • Visited Innisfree VIllage in Crozet – where BVSer Shino is serving
  •  Jamie Doyle, a college friend biked with us for the day
  • Conquered our 1st mountain just before the rain hit!
  • Took refuge in a church, where  a good friend, met up with us and brought us food!
  • Had a great stay with Jim and Silvia Bowman, who took us to Bridgewater to meet up with students there.

May 6th: Bridgewater, VA to Harrisonburg. VA  – 20 milesimage

  • Our day of “rest”
  • Had a great kick-off event at New Community Project, with friends and family
  • Late night bike tune-ups with Ben Wyse
  • Stayed with Heather Lantz who was previously in BVS, and Rebekah stayed with friends

May 7th: Harrisonburg, VA to Stephen CIty, VA ~61 milesimage

  • Michael Himlie, a BVSer at NCP , came to join us!
  • So glad not to have mountains to ride over!
  • Had a great dinner with lots of folks from Salem Church of the Brethren!
  • Stayed with Sue and Rusty Sandy! So glad to have met them!

We’re still figuring out the best way to blog and post pictures, while from the road. But hopefully as our journey continues we can get into some routine.

Thanks for all those who have helped to make our 1st week of traveling a success!


Baltimore, MD

Thank You!

Hello all-

I am in Ohio spending time with my family and preparing for our trip!  I am working on getting our supplies together that we need for our travel as well as calling folks along the way to see if we can get hosted.  Please send us an email if interested in hosting us-and see if you are on our route!

I just feel the urge to say thank you to the folks in the Harrisonburg community that have helped me out to prepare for this bike trip.

It has been a hard two weeks for me because gearing up for this bike trip is a constant reminder that my dad is no longer here with us.  I know that my father would be super excited for this adventure that Chelsea and I are taking.  I also know that he would have helped fix up our bikes, given Chelsea and I bike route tips, and given us counsel for whatever we needed along the way. I bet he would have even ridden with us part of the way or even all of it.  And because my father is not here with us anymore, I had to rely on the Harrisonburg bike community as well as friends and family.  It is amazing how things work out.

Biking from OH to VA to attend EMU!
Biking from OH to VA to attend EMU!

Examples of how the bike community in Harrisonburg has shown love to me:

  • Ben Wyse from Wyse Cycles got my bike in better shape to be able to have a more comfortable ride and be better equipped for the ride (and hopefully have less flats).
  • Ben Bailey from Rocktown Bicycles held a touring bike class for three Tuesday’s in a row before I left so that I would be prepared as much as I could for the trip teaching about routing, what bike to take, supplies and learning the basics on how to fix a bike.
  • Jim Moore and Lodema Miller saw me biking past their house, rain or shine, sleet or snow all winter long-and searched me out to get to know me.  They provided good counsel for my trip-providing adventure cycling maps, and shoes that would make it easier for me on the trip.

Lots of folks in Harrisonburg have been so kind to me, and I am so thankful things have worked out the way they have for this bike journey. It is really unbelievable how much love there is in Harrisonburg.

Thank you to everybody who is supporting us through thoughts, encouragement, prayer, in interest shown and love on this adventure.

We have not started the bike trip yet-but I have already felt so much love from strangers, friends, and family just getting ready for this trip.  I have found that it’s so important to make time to be with folks and even take the risk to meet somebody new even if it’s uncomfortable. Most often you will make a new friend, learn something that you never knew before and break down barriers that so often we as human beings build between each other.

—-Biking & its Risks—

Biking is a beautiful thing.  It has its risks, but in our everyday life we have constantly been taking on risks that we do not think about-like getting in a car and driving at high speeds, texting while driving, eating unhealthy foods, not getting enough rest, or choosing an unhealthy lifestyle (these are just some risks we take on day to day). In a book called, Cycling Home From Siberia, a quote recorded in the book says:

A ship in port is safe, but that’s not what ships are built for-

Admiral Grace Murray Hopper.

Though we are taking on a risk in some sense, I believe that we will learn more about our surroundings, find love in people that we come in contact with, struggle with ourselves, with each other and at times struggle with people we encounter.  But the beautiful thing about it-is that we can choose how to absorb it or react to our joys, hardships and struggles-and in the end we can learn from our adventure.

Much love & thanks,

Rebekah Maldonado-Nofziger

Pettisville, OH

The Long Bike Days are Coming!


Hello all!

I am finishing my last days of being an apprentice at New Community Project (NCP) at Spring Village in Harrisonburg, VA.  It has been a place of challenges for me, but also a hopeful place of love and joy.

Bike Prep with Ben Wyse
Bike Prep with Ben Wyse

I have also been quite busy getting ready for the upcoming bike trip starting the 1st of May. Saturday I meet with my local bike mechanic-Ben Wyse at Wyse Cycles-and he worked on getting my bike fixed up for the bike ride across the USA. It’s exciting stuff!

Because I think stories are so important I wanted to share my story of how I got connected to this bike journey:

I was working as part of the clinical staff at Harrisonburg Community Health Center I really wanted to live in an intentional community while working in Harrisonburg, VA.  I knew Tom Benevento, who is involved at New Community Project at Spring Village and contacted him to see if I could be part of the community. It was confirmed I could be part of the community! So as soon as the house opened I moved into NCP’s house and Chelsea was my roommate.  She had the dream to bike across the country and I suggested that I should go with her.  I have been dreaming of biking to Bolivia and this could be my first step to it, I thought. I also have done a handful of long distant touring (this one will be my longest one of four months) and so I said I could help her with routing, bike gear, and share previous experiences I have had. We decided we would do this trip together!

NCP Spring Village - Where we met!
NCP Spring Village – Where we met!

Chelsea has strong connections with the Brethren Church and its organizations and knew they might be interested in sponsoring us-they said yes! We will be doing Brethren Volunteer Service recruitment along the way visiting churches, church camps, intentional communities and friends and family. I am super excited to be part of this adventure that the Brethren Volunteer Service is sponsoring. It is quite an honor to be doing this for them and have the opportunity to do so.

I am quite excited for this trip!  This bike trip will be a good, hard, challenging adventure that I look forward to. I know there will be tough times ahead of us, but life is always full of hard, good, challenging adventures if we choose to take them on. We have decided to take this challenge on. What is your challenge?

We look forward to staying connected to you all! Please feel free to email us!



Harrisonburg, VA

A Mere Idea

One of my current housemates said to me recently, “Chelsea, you are really good at brainstorming.” Although I think there was a hint of sarcasm there at the time, the statement is something I believe is true.  I am a brainstormer/dreamer, I like to think about different possibilities and how to place them together for some larger picture. Around a year ago, the beginning of one of my many brainstorms started off with me wanting to see more of the United States and its people. When I ruled out running across the country, biking seemed like the next best thing. But just biking wasn’t going to be enough; I needed a purpose for riding that was greater than myself. The brainstorming has continued, and is now stumbling into reality. On May 1st, Rebekah Maldonado-Nofziger and I will be taking off on a bike journey across the United States, sponsored by Brethren Volunteer Service, with the purpose of learning, teaching, and spreading the good news of service, peace and justice. 
We’re planning to start on the coast of Virginia, and head against the wind to Oregon, ending in August. We’ll make many stops on the way: to churches, conferences, intentional communities, colleges, camps, and BVS sites. We hope to find the hospitality of those we know and those we haven’t met. We hope to hear and share stories, being plugged into the communities we encounter through conversations and time together.
Map of Bike Route
 This journey is something that I know is going to stretch me in more ways than one.  I expect that I am going to grow in ways that I am unaware of now, and I hope to share that and be supported by all those we meet, and through those who support us from afar.
We invite you to be a part of our journey! Come join us on a bike, host us, keep us in your thoughts and prayers, or follow us on our blog.
We hope to share stories of our journey, so be on the lookout for many more blogs to come.
Thanks for joining the journey!


Elgin, IL