On Two Wheels or Four, All Roads Lead to Pittsburgh
Although most conventiongoers chose to travel by car, bus or plane, the Harrisonburg group traveled by bicycle.
Lars Akerson, a staff member at Virginia Mennonite Missions, coordinated the ride. He began planning the trip last winter and invited local churches, youth delegates and agencies to participate.
Under the name “The Reconcyclers,” the biking group consisted of Akerson, Eric Schmucker, Matt Lind, Nicholas Detweiler, Nels Akerson and Tyler Groff. This past Thursday, the Reconcyclers began their 200-mile trek with a rocky start.
“Four minutes into our trip, Nicholas Detweiler fell down a hill,” said Akerson. “He flew across the road and bent his wheel.”
As luck would have it, a mechanic and friend, Ben Wyse, was along to see them off and fixed Detweiler’s tire. Though bruised, Detweiler continued the trip to Pittsburgh.
The group took a break during the four-day trip on Sunday to participate in the Anabaptist Missional Project at Laurelville Camp in Pennsylvania.
“We acknowledge the Sabbath,” said Akerson. “We took that day to rest.”
Bikers and nonbikers alike came from all over the country.
A college junior, Sarah Yorence, didn’t ride a bike to convention but she is among the attendees who traveled the longest distance. Yorence, who is from Los Angeles, made the cross-country road trip with a few friends from her youth group, the Maranatha Rebels.
“This is my third time going to convention and this year is a special one,” said Yorence. “It is definitely worth the long drive because our youth group will be performing at the coffee house Wednesday night. Other things that excite me are the interesting seminars, going to praise and worship and exploring a new city.”
John Bender, a pastor at Pittsburgh Mennonite, is delighted that the convention is being held so close to home. His church is a 15-minute drive from the center. He estimates that most of the congregation will arrive by public transportation or car.
“Pittsburgh is a great city and I think people will enjoy it,” said Bender. “It will be wonderful to have so many Mennonites here.”