The deCycles is a nonprofit ecumenical youth leadership program offering high spirited summer bicycle trips for teenagers and young adults. The history of the deCycles dates back to 1968 with over 1800 riders pedaling five million rider miles. The cyclists ride in groups of six on roads chosen for the best combination of riding surface, safety, facilities, and scenery. Several motorized sag vehicles monitor and support the entire group of riders throughout the day. Rest stops with food, juice, and water are planned every 20-25 miles. A cargo truck transports all luggage, equipment, and supplies.
Overnight accommodations are provided by church or school gyms and are prearranged. The group will often have free time in the evenings to tour the town, see a movie, or talk to townspeople about their adventures. Evenings are also spent singing songs, conversing and writing letters back home. And on the final day of the trip, a homecoming ceremony is scheduled for parents, relatives, friends and interested townspeople. This final celebration of music, tales, and testimony is extremely heartwarming and enjoyable by all. The hardest day of the trip is the last day, when it is over.
The deCycles bicycle trips are designed for participants to learn more about themselves physically, mentally, and spiritually. At first, some are hesitant or fearful about this challenge. To ride a bike this far may seem difficult or impossible. For the entire trip, the deCycles program will help them focus on maximizing their potential and discovering their own inner strength. Teamwork and attitude will help get them down the road. And ultimately, they can gain a clearer understanding of themselves, of others, and of their place in this world. The riders will enjoy tremendous satisfaction and self-esteem upon completing this journey. The personal rewards will last a lifetime! Beginner cyclists are welcome. In fact, most deCycles riders have no previous experience with long distance cycling.
The deCycles veteran leadership is 100% unpaid and volunteer oriented. The following is a list of the people who have put this program together and moved over 1500 young cyclists on thousands of miles of U.S. and Canadian highways since 1996:
NORM HOUZE is a doctor practicing in Bloomington, IN. A veteran of more than 36 cross-country deCycles trips, he is a former bike racer, coach of several cycling teams, sports medicine specialist and trainer, and has organized dozens of adult and youth bicycle trips. Norm has served as the tour director and on-road supervisor for the bike trips.
CRICKET HOUZE is an office supervisor and youth coordinator at her church. A former elementary school teacher, she is a veteran staff member of more than 31 deCycles bike trips. Cricket spends countless hours securing overnight locations and pre-trip organization. She has served as the devotions leader and official "Mom" of deCycles.
BOB AUSTIN, a veteran of more than 29 deCycles trips, is a retired teacher/band director in Bloomington, IN and has served as the off-road supervisor overseeing cargo, maintenance, security, and general youth supervision on the bike trips. Bob's devotion to the deCycles program has been priceless.
PENNY AUSTIN is a retired elementary school teacher in Bloomington and road support veteran of more than 20 deCycles trips. Penny has helped in the kitchen and has been a contact person for organizing police escorts, securing overnight stays, setting up send-off and arrival ceremonies, and countless other things. Her efforts have also been priceless.
ROBIN HOUZE is a data systems specialist for the University of Louisville. A deCycles veteran of more than 27 trips and former bike racer, he has served as the official deCycles "Mapman" showing us the way. Robin also served as the communications specialist and spends countless hours before the trip searching for the best roads and the best maps.
Norm Houze, deCycles director
4165 Judee Dr.
Bloomington, IN 47401