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Biking for clean water

News Editor, Michigan Area

The Rev. Rob Nystrom has been biking for Haiti for years. Rob has also organized others to participate in fund-raising for various projects like Imagine No Malaria. This summer a  new generation of Nystroms put feet to pedal to benefit Clean Water in Haiti. At nine years of age, Joshua was the youngest rider in the DALMAC (Dick Allen Lansing to MACkinaw bike tour).

Supporters’ dollars are still being counted. It was Joshua’s idea to get pledges to buy water filters that will be installed by Volunteer in Mission teams from the Michigan Area. The trip was 290 miles in length and took five days, September 2-6.

Training started on New Year’s Day on a family vacation to Sarasota, FL. Conditioning continued back home on the Pumpkinvine Nature Trail in Middlebury, IN when snow was still on the ground. Rev. Rob was then pastoring in Three Rivers. Joshua continued to get ready by riding on the Frederick Meijer Heartland Trail once Dad moved to the United Church of Ovid in July.

Then the big day came just a week before Joshua would start 4th grade. What would cause a boy to spend his last week of summer vacation working so hard? Joshua says, “I am riding because unsafe water and poor sanitation kill more people every year than all forms of violence, including war.” Funds pledged to his effort will be administered by the Michigan Area Haiti Task Force. “Four million people in Haiti don’t have clean water,” Joshua explains.

There were highlights along the route. A hug from Grandma, who drove from Harbor Springs to offer her support. In Indian River the pair stopped at Chillermania Headquarters. Joshua and Rob suggest a title and plot for Johnathan Rand, author of the popular Michigan Chillers book series … “Perilous, Paralyzing Potholes.” And a welcome moment at the end of every day was the warm shower. “We have been very thankful for an unlimited supply of clean water on this trip,” Joshua says; something we often take for granted,

But nothing topped the ride over the Mackinaw Bridge. DALMAC riders were cheered by the waiting crowd. A freighter passing under the bridge sounded its low, loud horn. “The crossing was a true victory lap!” Joshua exclaims.

The reward at the end of the ride was a steaming pasty … Joshua recommends eating them with gravy.

Would he ride the DALMAC again? “Yes!!!” Joshua answers. His father adds, “Thanks to all who made this incredible week possible. I am so proud of Joshua!”

DALMAC is one of the oldest all-volunteer-run tours in the United States, celebrating 45 years. It is staffed by volunteers of the Tri-County Bicycle Association (TCBA) of Lansing, MI. The objectives of DALMAC are to develop an awareness of bicyclists and their needs among the citizens of Michigan, to promote bicycling as a healthy means of transportation and recreation, and to encourage wider use of bicycles.

Pledges to clean water for Haiti are still possible. Checks, payable to the West Michigan Conference Treasurer, may be mailed to the United Church of Ovid,  P. O. Box 106, Ovid MI 48866, designated for RFH 2015. (Ride For Haiti)


Last Updated on January 9, 2023

The Michigan Conference