4,000-mile, 10-week ‘build’ trek set for Huxtable

Bill Huxtable loves riding his bicycle all over the world, but what he loves even more is helping others.

The long-time Farragut resident will combine those passions over a 10-week period starting in May, when he and other volunteers take the “Cali to Carolina” Fuller Center Bike Adventure, traveling 4,000 miles cross-country while helping build and repair homes along the way.

“We have nine planned built projects,” said Huxtable, including two in Kentucky communities ravaged by tornadoes in 2021. Other pre-selected build sites will include Joplin, Missouri, Hillsdale, Virginia and Pilot Mountain, North Carolina.

According to the Fuller Center website, the organization — established by Habitat for Humanity co-founder Millard Fuller — “builds and repairs homes with partner families who participate in the work and pay it forward.” 

Fuller Center rides “have raised well over $4 million” over a period of several years, and its riders “live simply as (they) go, depending on the hospitality of host churches, allowing 97 percent of the donations to be used for the mission itself.”

Huxtable, who has volunteered with Habitat for Humanity and is an elder at Christ Covenant Church in Farragut, will be joined by his wife, Rhoda. They will drive to La Jolla, California, where the trip begins May 27, then wind through 10 states before concluding Aug. 6 in Wilmington, North Carolina. 

“I’ll be in the car, following behind,” said Rhoda, who signed up as a support member of the team, which has about 30 members, some of whom are only traveling in segments of the trip, while the Huxtables have committed to the entire route.

He has focused his passion to help others in other ways, most notably as a team captain and 25-year fundraiser for the “Knoxville Tour de Cure,” an annual bicycle ride for American Diabetes Association.

The chance to cycle 10 states, — but also see National Parks including Grand Canyon, Zion and Bryce Canyon along with Dixie National Forest, the Rockies and Dinosaur National Monument — was attractive to the avid rider.

“I’ve always wanted to ride across the U.S.,” said the Bechtel Technical Specialist retiree who was well-known for riding his bicycle to work “except in the middle of winter.”

Huxtable, 71, said, he has been enthusiastic about cycling since he was about age 7.

“I rode my bike everywhere, and didn’t even own a car until I was 24,” he said.  “When I was younger, I liked the freedom to go places. ...”

Huxtable also has cycled internationally in Australia, Israel, France, Germany, Japan, Peru, Canada, Italy, Netherlands and Austria.

To train, Huxtable recently purchased an electric-assist bicycle, as the daily trip itineraries can range from 30 to 100 miles a day, and his plan is to log 1,500 miles on the new bicycle before the trip begins.

Huxtable has a $10,000 fundraising goal himself. So far he has raised more than $4,500.

Anyone wishing to contribute may visit https://my.fullercenterbikeadventure.org/Huxtable.

“We are still in need of four additional support members, mainly in the Midwest and East, who need not fund raise.”