The photo above was taken on Monday, just after this good-looking crew crossed the Mississippi river. This week the Pedal to Plant team cycled over roadway in three states: Missouri, Illinois, and Kentucky. Read about trail angels, thunderstorms, zone rallies and more! Buckle up, lean in, and get ready for a whirlwind of a weekly recap!

Spinach is for Cyclists

A little-known fact about Chester, Illinois—the lunch-stop for our team—is that it is the birthplace of Popeye. While not much of a carbohydrate, spinach is an excellent source of nutrients for a well-balanced cyclist diet. A spinach-wielding statue of our cartoon hero welcomed the crew into their eighth state! The Mississippi river is a huge milestone for TransAmerica cyclists going West to East, and was an experience laden with excitement for our riders when they crossed the over the narrow bridge. The 85-mile trek from Farmington, Missouri to Murphysboro (“the Boro” or “Murphy” to locals) was hot and humid. Upon arriving at the church in Murphy, Maureen, a fellow cyclist, stopped by for a chat. She invited all our riders over for a much-needed shower and much-wanted dip in her pool. Little did she know that we had no plans for showers and were quickly running out of options! God’s hand is all over this trip and this story was a small example of that.

After a morning detour to circumvent bridge construction, the team left Murphysboro headed for Glendale, IL 70 miles away. This has been the week for two trucks, because it has taken four to get the support vehicles to where they need to be. Cailyn and Michael Wheatley, Extreme Nazarene Mobilizers based out of Cincinnati, Ohio, joined the crew after their car was towed and fixed up. Morning rain showers and afternoon lightning storms got some of our riders off their bikes to seek shelter. Two bolts struck either side of the street causing Gene and Larita Schandorff to seek refuge in a nearby home. An 84-year old woman quickly let them inside to outlast the pounding rain. The final destination for the evening was the United Methodist Church in Glendale. Ed and Rosemary Krantz drove the Schandorff RV from Farmington to the UMC, streamlining the pick-up process down the road.

Michael, eager to get into the rhythm of things, set out with the crew on Wednesday on a borrowed bike. Considering the terrain and temperature, the way he biked his 8 miles was quite valiant. His ride qualified him to be our tenth rider in our #dayridechallenge! The team met up for lunch right before the Ohio river and crossed over to touch down in our ninth state, Kentucky! After just 12 miles on Kentucky pavement, the team was shuttled to Marion for the service held at Paducah Church of the Nazarene (CotN). Also in attendance was the Mayfield CotN, who brought over a busload of people for our Wednesday night service.

With rainstorms on the horizon, Mike Roskam and Ed Krantz designated an optional pick-up point, should the need arise. What started out as a 78-mile day turned into a 72-mile day due to the heavy winds and thunderstorms around Utica (“you-ti-kuh”). Our riders appreciate the free cleaning provided by the fresh rain, but the lighting, they could do without. The support crew shuttled the soaking cyclists to Owensboro. Upon arrival, the pastor of Ownesboro CotN ushered us into his home, offering peach iced tea. In response to a press release, channel 44 news from Indiana came and did a short piece about our riders. The link to the write-up can be found below.It has been quite comical, as news and media outlets promote our story, to read what people call us. We had dinner and a time to chat with the Owensboro CotN, and met some wonderful people.

The Extreme Nazarenes Arrive In Tri-State Area

From Utica, the team cycled in 70-degree weather with cloud cover to Eastview, 76 miles away. We stopped for lunch at a gas station and were approached by a man, Mark, in rubber boots and a straw hat. His quick wit and personable demeanor were pleasant and great for conversation. He snapped some photos of us to send to his cyclist friend in Utah. After our lunchtime encounter with our friend Mark, we had one of our best rides ever. The Elizabethtown Church of the Nazarene fixed dinner right with as much dessert as the main course food! We are thankful for safe travels and for enough bark to fend off the wild dogs here! “Wild dog” here does not mean rabid but rather unleashed or not behind a fence. All things considered, dogs chasing down cyclists is quite common. Some of the riders have a sneaking feeling that it may be a form of entertainment for the locals.

In the morning, when we arose, Michael Wheatley and Matthew, pictured below, joined us for part of the pre-lunch ride. Matthew and his dad woke up at 4:45am to meet us for our morning launch! The cyclists continued the ride to end 65 miles away in Springfield. All our riders would agree that this day was our favorite weather day since we left Colorado. The cool blue skies were pleasant and improved only by a slight cloud cover. The daily shuttle with Ed and Rosemary took the crew to the Farmdale CotN in Louisville where we were glad to rest our weary bodies and minds for the evening.

Sunday morning the crew was in two places at once. The Wheatley duo had driven back to Elizabethtown where Cailyn and Micahel delivered a powerful message with an even greater congregational response. Gene, Trevor, and the band lead the Farmdale CotN in Louisville in the morning service. The evening culminated in a zone rally held in Louisville, with 8 churches represented, including three people from the Southwest Indiana District! Ben Kuhn arrived late in the evening after a spontaneous visit to his family in Ohio and Nate Roskam arrived at 0-dark-thirty, ready to finish what he started many months ago.

As of right now, our mileage count for cyclists sits at about 3,450! We have less than 900 miles to go, and that number keeps dropping! If you are interested in donating money to help get us to our fundraising goal, click the link below. You can also contact us via email to work out other ways of donation and participation.


Money Update

According to our financial gurus and Excell spreadsheets, $94,801 has been received and $256,160 has been pledged in support.

This does not include the cumulated offering from the past 30+ churches we have visited. These donations, checks, in particular, have to be processed, which is difficult while on the road. , We will be able to give a more accurate number once more data is processed on the financial side of things. Check our Pedal to Plant profiles on Facebook and Instagram to support the team financially and prayerfully!

Churches who’ve hosted us; Churches visited this week are below in bold

  • Farmington Church of the Nazarene, MO
  • Murphysboro Church of the Nazarene, IL
  • United Methodist Church, Glendale, IL
  • Paducah Church of the Nazarene, KY
  • Owensboro Church of the Nazarene, KY
  • Elizabethtown Church of the Nazarene, KY
  • Farmdale Church of the Nazarene, Louisville, KY
  • Liberty Bible of Barberton, WA
  • Hilltop Church of Astoria, OR
  • Tillamook Church of the Nazarene, OR
  • Lincoln City Church of the Nazarene, OR
  • Church on the Hill of McMinnville, OR
  • Eugene Church of the Nazarene, OR
  • Sisters Church of the Nazarene, OR
  • Mission Church of Bend, OR
  • John Day Church of the Nazarene, OR
  • Baker City Church of the Nazarene, OR
  • McCall Church of the Nazarene, ID
  • Grangeville Church of the Nazarene, ID
  • Missoula First Church of the Nazarene, MT
  • Bitterroot Valley Church of the Nazarene, MT
  • St. Thomas Episcopal Church, Dubois, WY
  • Sunnyside Church of the Nazarene, Kinnear, WY
  • Riverton Church of the Nazarene, WY
  • Jeffrey City Community Church, WY
  • St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, Rawlins, WY
  • St. John the Baptist Episcopal Church, Granby, CO
  • High Country Church of the Nazarene, Buena Vista, CO
  • Lincoln Park Church of the Nazarene, CO
  • Garden City Church of the Nazarene, KS
  • Larned New Beginnings Church of the Nazarene, KS
  • Indian Hills Church of the Nazarene, Wichita, KS
  • Hutchinson First Church of the Nazarene, KS
  • Newton First Church of the Nazarene, KS
  • Jefferson Street Baptist Church, Eureka, KS
  • Severy Church of the Nazarene, KS
  • Church of the Nazarene, Chanute, KS
  • Living Faith Church of the Nazarene, Girard, KS
  • Carthage Church of the Nazarene, KS
  • Marshfield Church of the Nazarene, MO
  • Mountain Grove Church of the Nazarene, MO
  • Redford Church of the Nazarene, MO

Check back soon with us to follow our pedaling journey across the country! If you’d like more instant updates on where we are, follow us on Facebook and Instagram, where we will regularly post our status and location!

Pedal to Plant is an extraordinary endeavor biking 4,200 miles to raise $600,000 for 6 church plants overseas next year. Will you partner with us to make that dream a reality?