Have Bike, Will Travel — Never Mind the Years
Hess, from Lititz, Pa., joined six family members on a 125-mile ride to Pittsburgh, using the Great Allegheny Passage. The group, which had been planning the trip since spring, began the journey in Cumberland, Md., on Saturday. Along the way they met people from other churches who were also biking to convention.
“It took three days,” said Hess. “We passed lots of bridges and saw beautiful scenery, deer and turtles.”
This isn’t the only big bike trip Hess has done this summer. She pedaled 500 miles through the state of Wisconsin at the end of June before coming to Pittsburgh.
“I bike often,” said Hess. “I got back from Wisconsin a week before convention and I wasn’t sure I could go, because I had a stiff neck. But in the end I felt like it.”
Hess’ least favorite part of the ride was going through tunnels along the trail.
“They were very dark, cold and damp,” said Hess. “You can hardly see when you are in the middle. It’s like driving blind.”
Hess and her family stayed at hostels and hotels overnight before arriving at convention.
“It takes perseverance,” said Hess. “You think, are we ever going to get there? But you have to keep riding and being active. It is through God’s help; He keeps giving me strength.”
Hess, who describes biking as a “half in body, half in mind” experience, enjoys the challenge of seeing what the body can do. In addition to biking, Hess’very active lifestyle includes cross-country skiing, swimming and spinning classes. Every summer, she makes sure to do bicycle rides for charity.
Galen Sauder, Hess’ son-in-law, helped to plan their bicycle trip to Pittsburgh.
“We celebrate because she is up in years but keeps on going,” said Sauder. “She doesn’t let us sit still.”