My history in Peace Road
Peace Bike 2014
In the spring of 2014 I saw a flier which is being sent to members throughout the world promoting Peace Bike. In it they described the event which would take place in Korea that summer—riding a bike from Seoul to Busan, about 650 km, in 21 days. That didn’t sound too difficult, so I called to get more information and find out how I could join. At the time I hadn’t had a bike for year and was just getting over a problem in my neck which was slowly making my arms useless. One of the causes of my neck problem was riding a bike it was too small and they couldn’t find a larger one in Korea. So my daughters had bought me a bike in the U.S., but hadn’t shipped it yet.
Little by little I start getting more information. The event that would be seven days, they were providing bikes, and there would be a lot of time squeezed into an overcrowded van. Each time they send more information I said “No, I can’t join the team.” Each time I said no, someone called my wife to make concessions and encourage me to come. I could ride in front seat of the van and I could use my own bike (which I didn’t have yet). I had already assured them that I would completely unite with their program which included daily Hoon Dok and prayer. This had been the biggest concern about me joining the team but in fact it is probably one of the most important elements in Peace Bike. After I had refused three times, I received a call for my daughter—her boss would be coming to Korea and bringing my bike with him. It would arrive two weeks before the start of Peace Bike. Just enough time to wake up my body after a long period without a bike. I concluded that True Father wanted me to be there so I made a commitment to riding in Peace Bike 2014.
When I arrived in Seoul to join the team, I discovered that I was the only person who wasn’t either a student or staff at UPA. So I had no doubt—I was there at True Father’s direction. One thing I learned about True Father during my time on the New Hope was that when he gives directions he also takes responsibility. My job was to unite with the program and leave the rest to True Father.
After an opening ceremony and ceremonial ride at the DMZ, we drove back to Seoul to the beginning of the trail along the north side of the Han River. We had two vans, 18 riders and eight bikes. So the first team took the bikes and I rode in a van to the halfway point where we switched. I soon found out that the students had trained well and I had to put out a lot of effort to keep up.
The next morning we departed Seoul for Busan with the first team riding all morning and the second team taking over after lunch. After three days I could see the miracle that was taking place. Whenever I rode on consecutive days I could notice a decrease in power each day and by the weekend I was ready to take a couple days off. However, on Peace Bike I was getting stronger every day. To me this was a clear sign that I was getting a lot of spiritual help. So when I was put on the team to ride over the past at Mungyeon, I knew True Father was telling me that I could do it. It was a 45 km ride ending with 5 km with a rise of 300 m. One student told me that if I quit, he would quit too. However, knowing that True Father was there with me, there was no way I was going to give up. So he stayed with me all the way until he saw the two kilometer marker and got inspired. Yes, I was the last one to make it to the top, but that didn’t bother me—I had made it. I come into the students was, “and want to see all of you back here in 40 years”. Upon returning home at the end of the trip, I was surprised to find out that I had gained 3 kg, but lost eight points in my BMI. They went back to normal over the next two weeks. Somehow I had been given a stronger body for Peace Bike.
Peace Road 2015
Immediately following Peace Bike I began preparing for the following year. I wanted to be sure I was in good enough condition so that True Father could focus is efforts on more important matters. When it got too cold to ride a bike, I started carrying an 18 kg backpack up the mountain two or three days a week. On the alternate days I did high intensity interval training (HIIT) on the exercise bike. So when I started riding again near the end of February I was in about the same condition I had left off the previous November. Then in early May disaster struck.
This was my first attempt to ride around GwanDok San. The root goes over a 300 m high pass as well as two smaller hills on the return trip with a total distance of about 80 km. I had already changed over to short pants and short sleeve shirts but on this day I decided to put on a long pants and long sleeve shirt. Coming down off the pass I hit a hairpin turn to fast. Skidding into the turn I could see that I was going to make it so I released a break. However, the skid had bent the rear wheel, so when I released a break, the rear wheel immediately locked up and threw me off. I found myself sliding head first across the pavement and gravel toward the guardrail. Miraculously I got off with only a few minor scratches and bruises. It was as if the spirit world knew that something was going to happen that day and made sure I had protective clothing.
In mid-June a request for an international team came, so with six weeks until Peace Road I began training 10 Won-mo students. Most were out of shape and a few had never even ridden a bike before. In addition they were busy with class work at KLI and trading off on a few bikes. So they only actually went riding with me about two days a week. Clearly there wasn’t enough time, but we did our best. When we showed up at Peace Road 2015, we invited the rest of the members to join us for Hoon Dok Hae each morning and prayer in the evenings, but they declined saying there wasn’t a room big enough. Keeping the Hoon Dok tradition it soon became apparent that the Wonmo team members were also among the strongest riders. It’s truly amazing that they were able to go from zero to 100 km a day in just six weeks. In addition, they all felt that they had come together as a family in the end.
Peace Road 2015 had to about 35 riders, one bus, and two trucks to carry the bikes when we weren’t riding. We started in Busan were a team from Japan also joined and went to Seoul. Every day we took the bus to a rally in the morning and then returned to the trail to ride in the afternoons. Sometimes we split into two teams, each riding a different portion of the trail and sometimes we all rode together. At night we stayed in hotels. I had ridden nearly 5000 km since the previous Peace Road.
Peace Road 2016
A year later and another 7000 km logged on the bike brought me to Peace Road 2016. As the only westerner this time, I was asked to speak at the first rally in Busan—a short talk, 3 minutes maximum. While I was waiting for my time I said, “Heavenly Parents, what message you want to give these people”. Then it was my turn. I stepped on a stage with just a brief outline in my mind and began to speak. The UPF director was sitting right in front of me signaling to keep it short but I ignored him and continued. The UPF director was up next and in his keynote address he made several references to my talk. Then we hit the road. The next day I was asked to speak again and every day as we traveled north.
And ride was basically the same as the year before—same bus, same hotels, same number of riders—but this time we rode most of the way, only splitting the route a couple of days when time was short. I actually rode 622 km that week. The riders were all in pretty good shape for this trip and I was somewhere in the middle. I could keep up with a faster riders when I had to but I usually tried to slow them down for the benefit of those who couldn’t keep up. When it came to the hills nearly everyone breezed past me. However, I was one of the few who actually rode to the top. Slow and steady is the key to long distance riding. One afternoon it was getting late, so only the fastest riders would continue the last 20 km. I joined the group and was asked to take up the rear to make sure no one got left behind. I found it difficult to keep up, but it wasn’t long before half the group had slowed down to a comfortable pace. About halfway one brother had to stop because of cramps, so I stayed back with him and we walked to the next point where we could meet the bus. It was obvious I could not catch up with the group that point so I consigned myself to riding a bus. However, as we approached the bus, the team leader was there and said “let’s go” so I continued on the bike. At that point, having sacrificed the ride to help another rider, I suddenly received a surge of power and sprinted the rest of the way.
In 2016 we rode all the way to the end of the trail in Inchon. There, along with the director of UPF, everyone was asked to give a testimony. They all had heard my speech every day for the past week so I expanded on that giving more details on my vision through 2020. So I’ve made the commitment, the only thing left is to do it.