By: Cole Irvin, Transitional Home Counselor

Many people desire to do something significant that challenges them physically and mentally. That is precisely what Restoration Cycles offers young men at Youth-Reach Gulf Coast (YRGC).

Birthed out of the experience Tony and I had completing the 4,000-mile TransAmerica together, I knew bicycle touring could somehow positively benefit residents who were desperate for wholesome adventure.

So much time is spent behind screens which can really stifle the healthy drive to get outside and experience nature in its truest form.

When you start a bicycle tour like the Natchez Trace, all you know beforehand is that there will be a start and a finish. Everything in between is a mystery. I think that is what attracts the heart of men who want adventure in their life. Predictability can give us the feeling that we are in a rut, so the ever-changing flow of events you experience along the ride provides an excellent change of pace that leaves you returning home refreshed.

For anyone who finds it frightening to enter the unknown – I have learned that it is futile to be afraid of the unknown. Rather, be patient with it.

Patience is a fruit of the spirit that can positively help move you forward in difficult situations. One example of leaning into being patient with adversity was when we had a 107-mile ride scheduled and it began to get dark. Instead of losing our minds and panicking, we put on all our headlights and rode in a tight formation all the way to Tupelo, MS. It forced us to work as a team using each other’s strengths instead of focusing on the fear of riding in the dark.

All in all, the first Restoration Cycles trip taught me so much about how kind the Lord is to gift each person with such unique traits that benefit the group as a whole.

It was truly an experience unlike anything else. Thank you to everyone who helped make it possible!