Many people dream about touring the country, maybe even traveling for a week or two by bicycle.
Hans Myors has made that dream his everyday life. Myors has been touring the country by bicycle off and on since 1986, and he’s been on the road nearly continuously since 1993.
But Myors hasn’t traveled close to 76,000 miles just for the fun of it. He has a purpose; one might even describe it as a higher calling.
A native of Germany, the 41-year-old Myors calls himself a lay missionary. He travels the country helping build Habitat for Humanity houses and often lends a hand during natural disasters.
Floods, hurricanes, earthquakes - he’s been there: “Wherever I was needed as a volunteer,” says Myors.
He quit touring once and lived in Spokane from 1989-92 while working as a bookkeeper for the St. Vincent de Paul Society. In 1992 he moved to Portland to work at the St. Vincent’s there.
One night he dreamed that he was back on the road, bringing his message of good will to the country.
He had the dream the next night, and the next. On the fourth night the dream was slightly different.
“I heard one word: Go,” says Myors, and so he went.
He calls his ministry Pedal Prayers because, he says, “with every revolution of my wheel, a prayer goes up to heaven.” He calls himself God’s servant on two wheels.
Myors is not sponsored by anyone, nor does he have any support personnel traveling with him. Instead, he relies on the generosity of those he encounters.
He accepts donations from churches, food from strangers, and is content to camp in his tent most nights.
He does have supporters, people he has met along the way who do whatever they can to keep his wheels rolling. It is thanks to them he is still on the road.
In April, while traveling through Philadelphia, he was attacked and robbed. The thieves took his bicycle and all his belongings, which his supporters replaced so he could continue after he recovered from a concussion and bruises.
Even though he travels light, his 21-speed hybrid bike with a mountain bike frame and road tires weighs about 100 pounds when fully loaded. Besides carrying his tent, sleeping bag, and tools to patch flat tires, Myors travels with a journal, which he hopes to use as fodder for a book one day. He is also considering creating a Web page so people can learn more about what he is doing and keep track of his progress.
Myors has been a U.S. citizen only since 1984, when he left Germany for good. The first-born son in a Jewish family, his parents expected him to become a rabbi. But instead he began to believe in Jesus, something not accepted in the Jewish religion.
“When I found the Messiah, my parents said I committed suicide and they had a funeral for me,” says Myors. “I no longer have an official birth family.”
Since then, there has been no contact, even indirectly. His family does not know what he does now.
After visiting his old church in Spokane, Myors has only vague plans about where he will go next. He wants to go to Seattle, swing through Portland, then travel to San Jose, Calif., where he will stay during the winter and help a friend. He has no idea how or when he will reach his destination, and the number of side trips he could feel called to make is unlimited.
“It’s up to my pilot,” he says, gesturing toward the sky. “He’s the one in control.”
He also has no idea what the future will bring or how much longer he will keep doing his unique ministry.
“Ask my boss,” he says, looking skyward.
Myors says people are often so caught up in their own lives that they do not see the need around them. Myors wants to remind people of that need.
Knowing neighbors is also an important part of being a community, and that is part of the message Myors wants to spread.
But Myors says he doesn’t dwell on whether he is accomplishing his goals.
“If there’s just one person that I’ve touched … it’s all worth it,” he says.
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