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Cycling for Hope

Published on April 22, 2024

Allison Gibeson

While most attendees of FCA Realtime 2024 flew to Florida for the event, a team of seven cyclists took a different approach to their transportation. By riding 480 miles from Charleston, S.C. to Orlando, the team raised awareness for FCA Cycling as well as $11,000 to provide bikes for students in South Asia and Malaysia.

The undertaking marked the second time FCA Cycling Director Ryan Wright rode his bike to Realtime. Motivated by a desire to raise awareness for FCA’s mission of reaching every coach and athlete, as well as a vision to develop Huddles for cyclists everywhere, Wright rode 1,470 miles from Pawleys Island, S.C. to San Antonio in 2022. During the International Capacity Conference that occurred prior to Realtime the same week, he met with Willie Chai, FCA Malaysia Director, and Daniel Iuras from Romania, where both men expressed interest in riding with him to the next Realtime. As a result, plans for a second “Ride to Realtime” began and included an international focus.  

PHOTO-2024-02-23-22-09-31As plans progressed, Chai shared a need for students in Malaysia to be equipped with bicycles that can serve as their primary mode of transportation. Wright was simultaneously working with a team in South Asia who had also identified a similar need in their country.  To help meet the needs, the cycling team asked for donors to sponsor a bicycle for $125 each or match the trip’s mileage in dollars.

God’s provision was evident throughout the entire undertaking. One of the first obstacles the team faced came in securing bikes for both Iuras and Vince Seah, another rider on the team from Malaysia. The men needed to borrow bikes in the U.S. due to the logistical challenges of shipping them internationally, but it presented a unique challenge because the men ride bikes with smaller frames than typically available in the U.S. Wright reached out for help from retired pastor and bike shop owner Larry Watson. He spent several months refurbishing a couple bikes for the men.

With the bikes ready, the group set out on February 20for their five-day ride. In addition to the cycling, their daily itinerary included morning devotions, evening chapels and time to connect with local staff members along the way.

Challenges presented themselves, but God helped the team persevere. Due to jet lag, Chai had a difficult first day of riding. Then, he dealt with significant soreness the following days. To him, it began to feel like suffering.

PHOTO-2024-02-21-15-54-27 (10)“Then I was reminded: Whatever we suffer here on earth really cannot compare to what our Lord Jesus did on the cross,” Chai said. “It motivated me to look at things differently.”

The ride didn’t get any easier—the team faced significant winds as they continued their course along the ocean—but by focusing on his Savior, Chai was able to persevere.

Wright’s family experienced tragedy a few days before the ride began when his granddaughter passed away. His wife Heather planned to be the lead support and gear operator for the team, but she needed to remain at home for family ministry during that time. With short notice, Watson stepped up to fill the support role—again, God’s provision.

Meanwhile, Wright rode the first four days with the team while maintaining close contact with family. He returned to South Carolina on the morning of the fifth day of the ride to officiate his granddaughter’s funeral. Then, the day of the opening of Realtime, the Wright family returned to Port Orange, Fla. so Wright could complete the final stage into Orlando.   

PHOTO-2024-02-22-20-27-57“It was an honor and privilege to be a part of and ride with this entire team,” Wright said. “The love, grace and support they showed mile after mile indicates the transformational presence of the Lord in each of their lives. It was challenging to leave the final stage to them, but with the way they came together during the first four stages, I was confident they would complete the task well, and they did.”

Even amid adversity, the team succeeded in their mission of being able to provide transportation — and the Gospel—to those in Malaysia and South Asia.

“When we present a bicycle… we want to use that opportunity to share life and say, ‘There is hope,’” Chai said.

That hope is the bridge to sharing the Good News of Jesus.

“The bicycle is simply a vehicle into the Gospel, so God can win more and more cyclists, supporters and team members into the Kingdom.” Wright said.

Ryan Wright, FCA Cycling Director, requests prayer that God would continue to raise awareness of the cycling ministry and multiply their efforts so they can begin focusing on discipleship through Huddles and group cycling events. Upcoming cycling events include the Seashore to Summit ride from Pawleys Island, S.C. to Black Mountain, N.C. in June and the Too Tough to Ride event at South Carolina’s Darlington Raceway in September.

Learn more about FCA Cycling


Photos courtesy of Ryan Wright and Willie Chai