The ability to take 2-3 months off from daily routines is common for students during the summer, or for people transitioning between jobs. These opportunities are rare and it is important to make the most of them. For ambitious students this time is typically used for internships, summer research, or maybe even summer classes. But what about alternative plans that go beyond the standard adding to a resume? Perhaps traveling, meeting new people, or volunteering for a worthwhile cause? I recently heard about an experience, which does exactly that, called Bike & Build.
The idea behind Bike & Build is simple; Bike across America while supporting affordable housing options. Yes, this means participants will be riding a bike from coast to coast. Supporting affordable housing means you will be raising money for affordable housing projects AND you will be actually building these houses along your way.
Do you have to be an experienced cyclist/housing advocate who is harboring dreams of months-long adventures? No. But you will be when you finish. The program has extensive support for riders and housing advocates of all levels. You don’t even have to own a bike (or a hammer) to participate. Some of the details are listed below:
- It’s a young crowd. Ages of participants are around 18-28.
- There are multiple routes to cross the US. Each route will have about 30 riders who will be supported by a van, driven by 4 leaders.
- Each rider agrees to raise a minimum of $4,500 in donations (this may seem like a lot but there is extensive alumni connections and fund raising support from Bike & Build).
- After raising $1,000, Bike & Build will give you a new road bike.
- Bike & Build coordinates the entire trip! This includes sleeping arrangements, food, and routes – at no cost to you. You will mostly be staying in community centers, churches, and at campgrounds.
- The application for each summer’s ride opens up the previous fall.
- For more details see the Bike & Build website
Check out some of the routes below. The route starting in NC ends up in beautiful San Diego, CA (3,552 miles later)
If you still have questions after looking through the website, you can reach out to Kerri who is doing the ride this summer (firstname.lastname@example.org). She is also still fund raising for her ride and could definitely use your support. Kerri is a teaching assistant here at Duke and would be happy to talk to you about the Bike & Build program. If you would like to support the program and help Kerri out, you can donate here – http://bikeandbuild.org/rider/5494. Thanks for your support, and we hope we can encourage you to join the experience next summer.