June 4, 2013
A group of cyclists is spending time building houses in Charlottesville, as they spend their summer biking across America, all to help affordable housing.
A group of 29 cyclists with the organization Bike & Build arrived in Charlottesville Tuesday and is spending the night at Belmont Baptist Church.
They began their journey last Friday at Virginia Beach and will finish in Cannon Beach, Oregon on August 10. They will average 70 miles a day and complete 3,794 miles.
"Biking helps us get noticed and make a difference and it's a great conversation starter to explain what exactly we're doing and what our mission is," said Joseph Kuykendall, a rider with Bike & Build and student at James Madison University. "Anyone can get in a car...and go cross country, but the really committed and the kids who want to help affordable housing are willing to bike 3,800 miles and give up their summer -- internships, jobs, money -- to help out."
To qualify for the trip, each rider raised $4,500; volunteered for 10 hours with an affordable housing charity, such as Habitat for Humanity; and trained for 500 miles.
Those qualifications were a good fit for Zack Alves, a Bike & Build rider. He said he loves biking and service work and is majoring in construction management. He said he was also attracted to the organization because of its potential to make a long term impact.
"Affordable housing is long term. So, the impact we're making by giving someone a house -- that's there forever. It's a place they can go home, call home, and that opens up many doors," said Alves.
On Wednesday, the group will take a day off from biking and help Habitat for Humanity of Greater Charlottesville. It will be their first of ten "Build Days" on their trip.
The group will leave Charlottesville on Thursday and bike to Lexington.
You can follow the cyclists' journey across America. Some of the cyclists are biking and blogging. You can visit Kuykendall's blog here.
If you are interested in Bike & Build, you can visit their website here.