Starting in Portland, OR and ending in Bellingham, WA, Drift West participants spend 3 weeks and 950 miles exploring the highlight reel of the Pacific Northwest. Geographic icons like the Hoh Rain Forest, Olympic National Park, Mt Rainier, Deception Pass, and the San Juan Islands are punctuated by “megacity” celebrities Portland and Seattle, allowing riders to experience the area’s renowned cultural and topographic diversity in full.
With build days in bewitchingly beautiful cities like Neah Bay and Friday Harbor, Drift West’s five build days are just as impressive as the surrounding terrain and feature a different affordable organization at each stop. Smaller affordable housing organizations like Makah Housing Authority and San Juan Community Home Trust who do local, specialized work are a primary feature of Drift West and afford riders a variegated perspective of affordable housing issues.
Bike & Build is a 501(c)(3) independent nonprofit organization. We work with young adults to produce cross-country and regional fundraising cycling trips, open to participants ages 18-26. The proceeds from our events are disbursed to affordable housing organizations to underwrite projects chiefly planned and executed by young adults in this age group. Check out our main website @ bikeandbuild.org for more info.
The fundraising requirement is $2250 and preference will be given to applicants who can ride for the entire 3 weeks. However, to make the ride accessible to those with commitments outside of spandex, the trip will be broken up into two parts. Non alumni can sign up for Days 1-14 (Portland to Bremerton) or ride the full three weeks. Alumni have the option to join the trip in Bremerton and ride the final 9 days to Bellingham. The fundraising requirement for Portland to Bremerton is $1500 and for Bremerton to Bellingham is $1100.
Drift West riders will have a donation program similar to our cross country model. The proceeds will be donated in four ways:
Crossing into Washington nearly immediately after leaving Portland, the first few days of Drift West are spent rolling through the back roads of Washington enroute to the Eastern side of the Olympic Peninsula. Hugging the lush, rugged coastline of the Pacific, riders camp on its shores as they traverse picturesque Route 101 and tack towards the Hoh Rainforest and its Hall of Mosses. Olympic National Park serves as a consistent backdrop as riders head to Neah Bay- the most northwestern town in the lower United States and home to Cape Flattery- for their second build day. The climb up Hurricane Ridge and its stunning views of glaciated mountain tops and meadows are next (Are you Google Imaging these locales?? My goodness.) followed by the Olympic Discovery Trail to Port Townsend. The last ride into Bremerton marks the beginning of the journey around the Puget Sound.
The ride to Eatonville takes riders to the foothills of the Cascades as they inch closer to Mt Rainier. Trekking a terrain dominated by old growth forests, most notably the Grove of the Patriarchs, riders climb over a vertical mile into Mt Rainier National Park and are rewarded with an equidistant descent into Seattle. The most recognized in-route metropolis, the Emerald City hosts the rider’s 4th build day. Riders continue to skirt the Puget Sound as they roll (and ferry) to Whidbey Island- home to a slew of Washington State Parks including Deception Pass. After a scenic ferry through the San Juan Islands, riders have their last build day on San Juan Island and then coast into Bellingham for their final, triumphant ride.
This was hands down, the most incredible thing I have ever done
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Too busy this year for Bike & Build? Give us your info, and we'll contact you when next summer's registration opens.
Hi! My name is Sarah Aker and Iâ€™m from Kirkland, Washington. I work in accounting in Seattle and plan on working in the nonprofit field in the future. I went to a Jesuit high school which opened my eyes to social justice issues in the world. I have a passion for helping people, adventuring, and exploring. After biking the Keys to Canada route last summer, Iâ€™m excited to explore the area where I grew up!
I learned about Bike & Build from my cousin and after hearing her stories I knew I had to get in on this adventure too. The affordable housing cause means helping more people get housing that costs less than 30% of their income. This is especially important because when people do not have affordable housing then it reverberates on other parts of their lives by decreasing finances available for food, health, and education. Currently, many people are living in unsafe houses or working many overtime hours to afford their housing. By building more affordable houses, more families will be able to cover other important expenses. Seattle is working on increasing affordable housing in the area. I want to help in Seattle and throughout the country. A safe home is a basic comfort everyone deserves.
I canâ€™t wait to help the affordable housing cause and see new places! This will be a huge learning and personal growth experience and your support would be much appreciated. Iâ€™m excited to bike throughout Washington and build houses!
What is happenin' Bike & Build fam! My name is Sydney Arvin and Iâ€™m 25 years young from a small rural town in Mount Vernon, Kentucky. I graduated from the University of Kentucky in May 2016 with a degree in Exercise Science. I am currently a Physical Therapy Technician at an outpatient physical therapy clinic. When Iâ€™m not participating in the 8-5 life, I try to squeeze in enough time to adventure, cycle, watch sports, play sports, have rad dance parties & the list continues.
I originally heard about Bike & Build through one of my pals who I met on Semester at Sea. We remained in touch; I followed her on social media after our voyage and noticed she was getting ready for another opportunity to travel. I immediately became invested in her journey across America. After conversing back and forth, she encouraged me to apply for Bike & Build and I couldnâ€™t be more thrilled to participate in such an inspiring opportunity.
I have completed 2 Bike & Build trips: CUS '17 as a rider and SUS '18 as a leader! After dipping my wheel in the Pacific Ocean, I realized I wasnâ€™t finished. I wanted more. Both trips have inspired me to take it a step further and keep the fire ignitedâ€¦ but how could I do that? By leading a yet another B&B trip of course. I thoroughly enjoy this type of work - it not only keeps me engaged with what is around me, but also how to connect with people and become more confident in myself.
Growing up in a small, rural town in Kentucky, I watched how difficult affordable housing was for some to find. I not only witnessed this struggle in my own county and many of the surrounding counties, but also during my previous trips. It pains me to see families in need, whether they are struggling to provide a safe shelter or be responsible for locating their next meal. I have always had this drive to serve, volunteer and to help those in need. I want to continue spreading more awareness & information about the affordable housing issue back in my neck of the woods.
Why do I want to bike the PNW and participate in affordable housing again? The fuel the fire I felt from my previous trips that left me wanting more. My heart has never felt more full once I completed both trips; so to gain more experience and carry that feeling while leading a 2019 tripâ€¦ I couldnâ€™t think of a more humbling opportunity. I am thrilled to train, meet my team and carry out the roles & responsibilities as a 2019 Bike & Build leader. I couldnâ€™t be more proud to participate in this service-oriented cycling program once more. Holla.
My name is Brandon Czekay. I just turned 25 years old, but I spent most of that time in a small town outside of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where I grew up. After spending four amazing years at the University of Wisconsin â€“ Stevens Point and earning degrees in physics and math, I went South and settled in the beautiful capital city of Madison. Iâ€™ve always been familiar with Madison, as I had friends that went to school here, but I came with a goal to develop a deeper understanding of what a bigger city had to offer
My passion for fitness grew with my love for this city, as I fell into an active peer group who shared my interests in cycling (indoors, and out!), running, hiking, and camping. Since moving, I have completed two 10k races, a half marathon, and a sprint-distance triathlon. After a run or ride, you can catch me exploring the local food scene, or trying out a new local brewery.
Iâ€™ve always had a love for cycling, and a bike was my main form of transportation (and recreation) throughout college. My girlfriend, Kirsten, and I, spend a large percentage of our time together on our bikes â€“ whether commuting to a restaurant or circling the lake. She told me about an incredible trip her best friend, Carly, was embarking on. A cross country trip has always been on my bucket list, but I was extremely impressed to find out Carly wasnâ€™t just going on such a trip for herself but doing it in support of the Affordable Housing cause. I watched her make her way up the East coast from Key West to Canada via social media and saw how impactful the experience was for her, as well as the amazing team that she shared her journey with. I knew I had to find a way to become part of a Bike & Build team.
Volunteering has been a part of my life for many years. In high school, I spent time at the local food pantry assisting those with mobility issues take the food they needed home for their families. As an Eagle Scout, I have participated in many service projects in my community, including one I designed and led myself.
The homelessness problem in Madison is obvious to anyone who visits, and I come in contact to those affected every day as I live my life in the city that I am privileged to call home. Today, I work closely with those that provide healthcare to incarcerated individuals, a large percentage of whom were afflicted by homelessness prior to their imprisonment. It has become abundantly clear to me over the past two years how hard it is on those living without something so many of us take for granted â€“ a roof over your head.
The opportunity to make an impact on individuals and families at risk for homelessness and possible imprisonment while biking hundreds of miles through the beautiful Pacific Northwest is one that excites me to the point of sleeplessness. The challenge of a 1000-mile bike trek combined with the reward of providing affordable housing to those in need is an experience that would surely live among the highest highlights of my life. Drift West is that opportunity, and it is one I cannot pass up. (Sharing such a trip with my girlfriend would the icing on the cake!).
Iâ€™ve been so lucky to have grown up in a family that has never been faced with the challenge of losing a home or surviving without one. That challenge is one that no family should have to face, and Bike & Build affords myself and others a way to help reduce the number of people that do.
My name is Erin Dominici. I am 24 years old and live, work, and study in Chicago, IL. I work full time as a research data analyst at Northwestern University (â€¦and as a research assistant at the University of Chicagoâ€¦ and as a freelance data analyst online) while studying as a part-time graduate student Northwestern toward my Masterâ€™s in Public Health (June 2019!).
I originally heard about Bike & Build from a friend who did the program in 2016. I remember seeing a picture on Facebook of her holding up her bike triumphantly just after having biked and built across the U.S. that summer. At the time I thought â€œHuh, that seems pretty cool,â€ and more or less tucked away Bike & Build to the back of my mind. Fast forward two years later, I was working with an organization that provides affordable housing and health programs to a primarily young, LGBTQ population and trying to work on my fitness when Bike & Build reentered. I decided to do some more researchâ€¦
As a public health student, Iâ€™ve helped build a health resource databases for an organization with an affordable housing initiative and studied the impact of technology and data science on individuals experiencing homelessness. Throughout my studies, Iâ€™ve cultivated an interest in public health innovation and researchâ€”developing unique, effective interventions with the populations they are meant for. Most of my work has been in the realm of developing sexual health interventions for diverse adolescent LGBTQ populations. Moving forward in my studies and career, I want to develop this interest further and see Bike & Build as a unique opportunity to do this.
One of my primary reasons for participating in Bike & Build is to bring light to some of the false way we think about people experiencing homelessness or poverty. In the US, we typically view the poor as lazy, purposefully unemployed, and just looking for handoutsâ€”whether that be on the street or from Welfare; we blame them for their poverty. However, the truth is that the vast majority of Americans experiencing homelessness and/or poverty work multiple jobs and are subject to systematic inequalities and oppression that contribute to negative feedback loops that keep them in poverty. I feel it is incredibly important to raise money and awareness for an affordable housing initiative to help bring light to these stereotypes and the actual experiences of those living in poverty.
Hey there! My name is Emma, I'm 23-years-old, and I'm from Lakewood, Colorado. I've grown up in Colorado my whole life and absolutely love the outdoor adventures this state provides. I spent my freshman year of college at Western Washington University in Bellingham, WA (which is where the Drift West route ends!) and then spent the next 3 years going to school at the University of Colorado Boulder. There, I studied Marketing and Creative Writing. Now I live in Denver and work for a tech startup that teaches kids how to code!
I heard about Bike & Build from a few friends that were loud 'n proud about their own experiences doing it. I'm drawn to B&B because it combines 3 things I'm very passionate about: being active outside, traveling, and most importantly, helping people!
Both in high school and in college, I was involved in clubs that frequently volunteered in the community. I've served food at the Denver Rescue mission, picked up trash along the streets of Boulder, and put on my best scary face for YMCA haunted houses. Now that I'm out of school, I'm itching for new ways to get my hands dirty and help different communities!
Biking 40+ miles a day for a month scares the crud out of me, but the craving to meet new people, explore Oregon and Washington, and lend a helping hand far outweigh my fears!
Please consider making a donation to the Affordable Housing cause! The funds raised are given to nonprofits around the country who are providing safe, stable, and affordable housing to people that need it.
Greetings Bike & Build enthusiast!
I am Chris Frishcosyâ€”a 25 year old who was homegrown in Wagener-Salley, South Carolina; a small town about 40 miles from the â€œfamously hotâ€ capital, Columbia. I was fortunate enough to attend the University of South Carolina (USC, Go Gamecocks!) and earn a bachelorâ€™s in civil engineering. Afterwards, I came to the University of Colorado Boulder (CUB) for a civil systems-based masterâ€™s degree and a certificate for Engineering in Developing Communities (EDC); which I will be obtaining this May!
Some fun facts about me: I LOVE soul music! If you have the slightest appreciation for STAX records, or alike, then weâ€™ll certainty have something to jibe about. In the same musical vein, I enjoy dancing and karaoke, however lack talent in both. I have an affinity for all sorts of outdoor activities (especially aquatic ones) and I am always game for some causal, semi-competitive sports. Since attending graduate school cooking, cycling, and board games have been added to my list of hobbies.
As for affordable housing, I first engaged with the cause through an undergraduate research position. Assisting a Ph.D student with her study of Compressed Stabilized Earth Blocks (CSEBs) enabled me to interact with an affordable construction material as we analyzed its physical properties and, ultimately, its resistance to tornado simulated projectiles. This experience supported an interest in affordable, disaster resistant housing as well as in the concept of â€œsustainability.â€ However, witnessing the tempestuous inundation of Hurricane Joaquin and Matthew spurred this interest into passion and galvanized my engineering career towards a disaster management focusâ€”resulting in my pursuit of a relevant graduate degree.
Thanks to the EDC program at CUB, I was able to intern with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) last summer, assisting with the development and implementation of an affordable housing related program. Participatory Approach for Safe Shelter Awareness (PASSA) is based on the Shelter Clusterâ€™s â€œ8 â€˜Build Back Saferâ€™ Key Messagesâ€ and is expanding to include youth in the disaster risk-reduction decision making process through the adequately named PASSA Youthâ€”the portion I assisted with. Also while at CUB, I have been able to compare the apparent housing issues in Colorado to those in South Carolina. Vulnerabilities, inequities, and policies in both places produce diverse situations that are yet linked by the same need for affordable (and sufficient) housing. Some of these discoveries occurred while attending Habitat for Humanity meetings at CU, where I first heard of Bike & Build.
I consider the ability to serve others a privilegeâ€”one that I am thankful to have had. Being a Relay for Life captain for an undergraduate organization, adventuring on a trail rehabilitation spring break trip, representing the state (SC) and nation as a Cultural Ambassador for Civic Engagement, and acting as the Service and Evangelism Officer for the Graduate Christian Fellowship at CUB are some of the ways I have been blessed to serve; and I am excited to add Bike & Build to the list. Although there are substantial gaps in access to various types of resources and utilities, affordable housing stands out as an issue in which I can directly intervene throughout my ensuing career. It has been said that â€œyour life should be about finding the intersection of the worldâ€™s greatest need and your greatest passion.â€ Affordable housing is certainly a pressing need in the world, civil engineering is an undeniable passion of mine, and they intersect quite well.
The first time I cycled up Flagstaff Road to Lost Gulch Overlook in Boulder I felt an intense sense of accomplishment; completing what was a daunting task for me at my riding level. This hair raising, heart warming feeling is what motives me to challenge myself when cycling today. Although I am sure this steep 2,000 feet climb over a short five and half miles doesnâ€™t hold a candle to biking across the country in a few months, I am excited for the glimpses of this feeling along the way. And while there are fears of being a hindrance, the thought of forming a camaraderie with the other service-hearted riders through overcoming the daily challenges and appreciating the daily rewards encourages and empowers me to embark on this â€œonce in a life time opportunity.â€
My name is Nick Hales and I am from Raleigh, North Carolina! I am currently 25 years old, (26 as of summer 2019) and I graduated from NC State with a degree in Architecture in 2016. Within days of walking across the stage with my degree in hand, I began my first experience with Bike & Build, packing up everything I'd need for a summer on the road and drove down to Jacksonville, Florida where I began my adventure across the United States destined for Monterey, California. The trip was more humbling and incredible than I could've ever imagined, it's emotional roller coasters only matched and surpassed by the testing climbs and beautiful downhill roads that we experienced. It was ultimately the most challenging and rewarding experience of my life, and it opened my eyes to the astounding kindness and generosity of people across the United States - something that I will forever be grateful for. I hope to lead a trip this year to share the experience with the next generation of Bike & Builders!
A little about myself:
I graduated with a degree in architecture from NC State University in Raleigh, NC, a town I've called home for the full 25 years of my life. As a child growing up in a suburban neighborhood, I was fascinated watching houses being built. I would explore them and see how they were laid out, guessing which rooms were which and where things would go. I'd notice how the wood stud walls were put together and began to learn the process over the years. This ultimately led me to pursue a degree in architecture, with the dream of designing homes one day. I currently work in Durham, NC and I am pursuing my license to become a registered architect!
I first heard of Bike & Build through one of my college buddies who had completed a trip after he graduated. One night we were out grabbing drinks for his birthday and he mentioned that applications were open and that I should apply, without even hesitating I said that I'd do it and asked him to hold me to it, not really thinking too much of it. The next day he texted me asking how my application was going - I hadn't even started, I totally forgot... Yikes! So I put my tail in gear and quickly pulled together an application. A few months later, after hundreds of training miles and a few thousand dollars raised, I was on my way down to Jacksonville to start my trip!
Affordable housing has always been of interest to me. As an aspiring architect, I am interested in the process of designing and building spaces that better the lives of those who occupy them. This should not be limited to only those who can pay top dollar for a big name starchitect, only using the finest materials for the fanciest clients. Good design should be available to all and should be relatively affordable. Housing is a fundamental need, and when families are stressed to pay an exuberant portion of their paycheck for rent or a mortgage, then they have to make concessions elsewhere. Often this means spending less on food or medical supplies or other essentials, ultimately compounding the struggles they face. Without safe, decent housing, families cannot focus on what's most important to them, and children cannot grow into the best versions of themselves. I'm passionate for this cause because I've been fortunate enough throughout my life to never have to worry about a roof over my head or where my next meal may come from, and for that I am extraordinarily grateful, but I know there are a lot of people who aren't as fortunate and I've always been taught to help those who need it most and to give back when you can. I think everybody deserves the opportunity to live in a home that's safe and have the time and space to become the best version of themselves.
My name is Joel Hardcastle. I am a 28-year-old living in Kalamazoo, MI. I am currently studying at Western Michigan University.
My introduction to the Affordable Housing cause was in 2014 when I was inspired to reevaluate my life and start working to improve myself. As a result of that inspiration I rode with Bike & Build on SC2SC in the summer of 2014. Once I had finished my trip I enrolled in college classes and began to pursue higher education. At the end of 2015 I enlisted with AmeriCorps where I served as a Construction Liaison for the Kalamazoo Valley Habitat for Humanity. Upon completion of my service (13 months) I was offered a job as a part-time Site Supervisor with the KVHH. This position gave me the chance to continue working within AH while I continued my studies as a full-time marketing student. To occupy what little free-time I end up having I love to work with my hands. I work with leather and make theatre quality prosthetic masks and armor. I guess you could classify me as an artist, but I donâ€™t really look at it that way. A large portion of my projects end up being used for medieval combat games or larp (live action role-playing). Basically we wear funny clothes and hit each other with sticks.
I am excited for the opportunity to ride alongside like-minded individuals and to further demonstrate the importance of Affordable Housing. My time working with the Kalamazoo Valley Habitat has taught me a great deal. While I might not be in the greatest biking shape as I write this; I definitely know how to wield a hammer. I guess the biking part will come back to me quick enough. I believe there is a saying about riding a bike? Not to mention the sweet tan lines that come from wearing spandex every day. All in all I am ready to tackle whatever the road can throw at me and I cannot imagine a better way to experience every aspect of this country. Letâ€™s kick it in!
My name is Kirsten Heikkinen, I'm 23 years old, and I grew up in a suburb of Minneapolis, Minnesota. I work and live in Madison, Wisconsin, but before moving to this amazing city, I graduated from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse with a degree in math. I also got a minor in psychology, which doesnâ€™t pair *super* well with math, but itâ€™s interesting and I loved it â€“ so why not!
Iâ€™ve made Madison my home over the past couple years and have found countless ways to express all my interests â€“ some of which include being outdoors, volunteering, and over-indulging in delicious food.
With my move to Madison also came my love of bicycling â€“ this place lives for it! When I heard my best friend from college signed up for a program called Bike & Build that would give her the opportunity to bike across the country (all the way from Key West to Canada?!) *and* help the Affordable Housing cause, I was more than excited for her, not to mention CRAZY jealous. I followed Carlyâ€™s journey through photos shared and periodic texts and had the chance to meet her at the end of her ride in Portland, Maine. I met all her amazing Bike & Build friends and had a chance to hear firsthand about their incredible experiences. I was totally sold â€“ I knew I needed to do this too.
Giving back to my community has always been a passion of mine. In high school, I worked with children at Vacation Bible School and Sunday School. In college, I helped watch the children of single mothers who were going back to school to pursue their education. Now, I help coach soccer to children from low income families and spend a couple hours a week volunteering with Serrv, a non-profit organization that fights poverty through fair trade. I live next door to a YWCA, which provides housing and shelter programs to single women, children, and families. I see firsthand, every day, how much of an impact this has on the Madison community.
To have the chance to broaden my volunteering experience; to help provide affordable housing to those outside of my immediate reach; to make a lasting impact on families and myself â€“ all while biking through the Pacific Northwest â€“ would be an unforgettable milestone in my life. Iâ€™ve spent all 23 of my years in the Midwest. It would be equally challenging and rewarding to push outside my comfort zone and participate in a physically and emotionally demanding adventure like Drift West.
I have been incredibly privileged and have received so much help and support from family and friends in leading this life of mine. I hope to have even a fraction of this kind of an effect on others, while simultaneously igniting a spark in myself to continue fighting for social justice. What better way to continue this goal than Bike & Build?
Hi! My name is Caroline Herre, and I live in Washington, DC. I'm originally from beautiful Norfolk, Virginia and Virginia's Eastern Shore, where I grew up running around in the marshes and swimming in the Chesapeake Bay. I studied economics and urban planning at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, and I spent a lot of time working in UVAâ€™s Community Garden. Through studying urban policy, design, and community engagement in the School of Architecture, I first became interested in the broader issues surrounding affordable housing. Now, in my job in real estate development in Northern Virginia, I am more actively involved in the financial framework that funds a good portion of new affordable housing. I work with developers, city staff members, engineers, and architects to design new buildings while working to incorporate the local jurisdictionâ€™s affordable housing policies. Needless to say, itâ€™s a complicated process, but at the very least, a lot of good people are tirelessly working to ensure that every family has a fair shot at a stable housing situation.
Outside of work, I commute on my bike about twelve miles a day from my house in northwest DC across the Potomac River (unforgettable at sunrise and sunset, if you time it right â€“ imagine the Washington Monument in the pink-purple sky!) into Arlington, Virginia. Iâ€™m an avid reader and always open to new recommendations. I also love hiking, gardening, and getting friends together for home cooked meals.
I first heard about Bike & Build when I chipped in for my friend and sorority sister, Margaret Lowe, when she went on a trip while we were in college. A true joy to be around, Margaret brought life and energy to everything she did. She even carried a spikeball set across the country with her, and she returned from the trip excited to share her experience. Margaret passed away early in our senior year of college. I havenâ€™t quite figured out how I can best carry her with me, but maybe itâ€™s by biking for a couple weeks in the Pacific Northwest for a cause we both care about with a spikeball set in tow.
Hey all! Iâ€™m Jess, a 25-year-old from the NH coastal shire who found her way to the west coast over the last few years. I graduated from the University of New Hampshire in 2019 with a bachelorâ€™s in Environmental Conservation and Sustainability a specialization in Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems and minors in Education and Art. Upon graduating I set out to hike the Long Trail in Vermont where I made connections that took me through and across the states to where Iâ€™ve now landed: The Bay Area.
The majority of my work and volunteer experience has revolved around food access, public health, conservation, and agriculture. I first learned about Bike & Build as a teenager while working on a small farm in Stratham, NH. A few riders stopped by for snacks on a warm summer day and every year since then, Iâ€™ve wondered, â€œis this the year?â€ (Yep, this is the year.) While traveling across country a few years ago, I was exposed to 21 states Iâ€™d never set foot in. During that period of time, I was fortunate enough to take a glimpse into the lives and living situations of folks throughout the whole country. It was a wakeup call. The homeless and housing problem is very real, and itâ€™s not just in small town NH. In fact, itâ€™s far worse the closer to large city hubs you get. I now live in San Francisco where 795 people per 100,000 residents are homeless. In 2016, the San Francisco Coalition on Homelessness estimated the number of homeless folks to be up to 12,000. Thatâ€™s more than half the number of people living in my hometown of Portsmouth, NH, where affordable housing is the hot topic of the year. Think about that.
Over the past year and a half, Iâ€™ve worked for Plenty, an indoor hydroponics ag-tech start up on a mission to change the food system. During this time, Iâ€™ve seen first-hand how the current systems our society functions under can impact people. Humans with 3 jobs working 24 hours a day, weeks at a time, to feed their family. Humans who sleep in their car for 30 minutes to rest before their next shift. Humans who work the night shift to ensure their kiddos can get to school on time despite Bay Area traffic, so social services wonâ€™t get involved. Humans who commute 4+ hours a day to sleep on a floor with a roof over their heads for a few hours. This is real. These are people in our lives.
Bike & Build is a force making changes that directly impact the wellbeing of the humans around us. Our friends, coworkers, neighbors, families, and community members. Not only have they granted more the $6.6 million to 1,400 affordable housing organizations since 2003, they have created a growing awareness by advertising on wheels. When I set out to travel west, I told myself it was time to grow. Iâ€™ve grown plants, teams, friendships, connections, and even growing systems.
Time to hop on & grow some more.
My name is Andrea Mejia I am 18 Years old. I am a student at Year Up specializing in Support for Project Management. I decided to participate in Year Up because I saw a big opportunity to start introducing myself into the coporative world and to learn about it.
I chose Support for Project Management because I like helping and being a support for anybody who needs it, the same way I would like people to treat me and support me when I need it.
My instructor Skip Burn told me about Bike&Build because he also participated in it.
Something I enjoy is singing. Currently I am enrolled in singing classes at the Granoff Music Center at Tufts University. I love playing the piano but I am still learning. When itâ€™s summer I love hiking and when the winter comes I like snow hiking, though I have only done this once, I would definitely do it again. I love photography; in particular I love taking pictures of mother nature.
I am doing Bike & Build because I want to challenge myself and have new adventures. I also want to help people who don't have housing. This would be a perfect opportunity for me because I can have fun and help people who need it.
Hi team! Thanks for the visit - Iâ€™m Arleen and I grew up largely in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Here in Edmonton, I graduated from the University of Alberta with a bachelorâ€™s degree in Molecular Genetics and had such a great time that I stuck around for the Doctor of Dental Surgery program. I am entering my last year of the dentistry program and it seems to be wrapping up all too quickly. When Iâ€™m in school, Iâ€™m (usually) having a great time hanging out with patients and spending too much time with my 44 classmates. I am convinced that exercise is the best medicine and am happiest filling my free time with running, gym sessions, trendy cardio classes, and yoga!
As a healthcare provider, I am consistently faced with the consequences of systemic inequities where heath often suffers in the face of unmet fundamental needs. I am reminded of my privilege daily and feel that it is my responsibility to advocate for leveling the playing field. Access to safe and affordable housing is a massive and growing issue that will continue impact the physical and mental health of my generation. Change does not happen in a vacuum and I believe that raising money for and awareness of the housing shortage is a worthy cause.
I first heard about Bike & Build in undergrad and l am lucky enough to finally make it happen on the Drift West route. I have many avid cyclists in the family and have recently fallen hard for my new bicycle! While I have minimal experience with long-distance cycling, thereâ€™s very little that I think I canâ€™t do and Iâ€™m excited to train for the challenge of 950 miles. I am most of all looking forward to sharing the ride with likeminded people committed to making a positive impact!
Hello! My name is Tarang and Iâ€™m currently on a gap year. Iâ€™ve been living in India for the past 11 years. I grew up in a solar-powered house with rainwater harvesting, and helped plant, water and harvest the vegetables grown there, which is why sustainability is important for me.
In school I studied math, biology, physics, art and psychology, and realised that I did not have a clear idea as to what I wished to learn or do after school. In order to learn more about myself and others, right now I am traveling, learning new skills and trying out new activities while being helpful in some manner to people and the planet.
I kicked off my gap year with a 3-week program with a dozen people in the Himalayas at a place called Dharmalaya Institute (dharmalaya.in) focusing on sustainable and affordable building, mainly with mud and wood. We worked together on several projects, from digging the foundations of a shed to sanding and varnishing wood. We stomped on mud, squishing it between our toes, before gathering it and plastering it on walls. This was all new to me: fresh out of school, fresh out of a concrete city, and I relished it. It seemed so thrillingly fundamental to build from scratch.
Perhaps the most monotonous task in the Himalayas was the most rewarding too: stone smoothening. Rubbing and rubbing and rubbing and rubbing again and again and again (for forever). Whatâ€™s amazing, is that the eternally rough can also be smoothed with time. It is somehow so satisfying to do this, I realised I liked working directly on projects, with my hands, I'm looking forward to doing more stuff like that!
Later, I volunteered at a retreat center in California, preparing breakfast and doing the dishes for 70 people, scraping lead paint off walls, and vacuuming off footprints. The level of community there was incredible, perhaps because each of us was closely involved with everything. From hiking to playing card games to nightly discussions, we got to know each other very well.
Now I am participating in a 6 month Americorps program, camping for 8 days at a time, working 10 hours a day, as a part of a 7 person crew that travels to different parts of Arizona to assist conservation efforts there. We worked and lived together, whether we were removing of invasive species, repairing trails, putting up signs or cooking.
I enjoyed connecting with the other volunteers and staff members at all of these places. This is something I want to experience wherever I go: the enduring power of human connections. I think it really changes things: a positive social experience can make even dismal situations enjoyable. I'm looking for places where I can establish close connections with other people, because that is when I will be really happy, and will learn the most.
So what does this have to do with affordable housing? Everything. Iâ€™ve been in a constant state of flux, jumping from place to place. Iâ€™ve stayed with friends, volunteered in exchange for housing, and camped out. Of course itâ€™s exciting and fun, but it would be great if I could get my own house to return to, and so many people, both in India and US, lack it. Not because there arenâ€™t enough houses, but because the people who need it most donâ€™t have the money for it. Everyone should have a place to call home, not just because it makes society more stable, or makes people more productive, or is psychologically beneficial, but because it is a universal human right.
So why is the biking important? I see all sorts of places, while learning different ways to build houses and helping people. Different areas need different ways of building. For example, in the Himalayas, houses built out of mud were much cheaper and easier to maintain than concrete. In fact, concrete is usually not a suitable material for tropical countries because it traps too much heat, but of course, in colder countries, it makes more sense. When I interned at an architecture company, I realised that a broader perspective was necessary to find better ways to build, because the architects just didnâ€™t know how to do things better. Thatâ€™s why biking is so important, to learn first-hand in which situations you build in a certain way. Affordable housing is about efficiency and contextual design, not a universal factory design that tries treating different climates and cultures in the same way.
In essence, through Bike & Build, I get to help build houses and make a difference in the world while traveling through it. I even get a community of other bikers with me. My personal goals all intertwine in this one program.
I hope you can donate to this amazing project!
If we've never met, thank you so much for visiting my rider page. If you're a friend, thank you for responding to my endless self-promotion! I am so happy you are here.
So who am I you ask? My name's Emma and I'm fresh off a year of service as an AmeriCorps VISTA with Philadelphia Legal Assistance. I am a recent(ish) grad from Penn and a long-term lover of Philadelphia. I rode with Bike & Build back in 2015 on a b-e-a-u-tiful route from North Carolina to San Diego and I am more than psyched to ride again with Drift West this summer.
I am returning to Bike & Build for a number of reasons, perhaps the primary being I never really left. Since my 2015 trip I have been surrounded, emotionally and geographically, by Bike & Builders. They have influenced my ideas and professional decisions, they have inspired me, and they sometimes do my dishes (thank you Abby & Erik!). Most importantly, they have helped solidify affordable housing as an issue that I continue to grapple with four years later.
Safe, affordable housing is a fundamental human right. Everyone deserves the ability to go home at the end of the day and feel comfortable and secure in their home. In addition to deserving this, human beings require it. In my work at a health center based legal assistance office, we often see clients struggling with a number of health issues as a result of housing affordability issues.
Affordable housing is obviously a huge, complex problem that cannot be solved solely through building Habitat homes or raising money for AH organizations. Still, these contributions make an enormous amount of difference for the individuals who cross our Bike & Build path. I think this is especially important for us to remember now, when larger political forces can seem so uncontrollable. Our actions have impacts and we can make a bit of difference.
Being surrounded by a group of passionate people who have taken vastly different paths through life. An environment where you are not only safe and comfortable but empowered to make change. A group united by a cause. These are the aspects of Bike & Build I would love to return to and have a hand in creating for my own group.
To end, I'll quote my past self, "I am incredibly nervous for this trip but I am also so freaking excited...I cannot wait to bike through parts of the United States that I've never even heard of and I'm looking forward to meeting a group of people who all believe in the idea of affordable housing and are willing to bike across the United States to do something about it".
My name is Charlie Stelnicki and I am from a suburb just outside Chicago, IL called Western Springs. I study International Studies and Sustainability the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and enjoy beautiful rides around that area with the UM Club Cycling team. I also enjoy working for the yearbook staff as an editor and am a proud Greek life member.
Ever since I was young, biking to me has been a liberating experience. I used my laughable yet lovable hand-me-down blue Trek for all my years of elementary school, pushing my mom to let me go further and explore more of our area to a fault. I have always had a knack for maps and the world around me, which naturally led to an interest in languages, other cultures, and finally my course of study at university. All of those beautiful days of spring, summer and fall on two wheels as a kid gave me all the incentive I needed to set a goal to see as much natural beauty as I can. I believe that it's imperative each and every one of us pursues what we love and to spread that love to those close to us in everything we do. Doing this trip is something my close, late friend Derek, who loved the outdoors and extreme sports, would be proud of me to do, and I feel it is an opportunity which I can not afford to delay.
I heard about B&B from a coworker of mine who had an unforgettable experience riding the Southern U.S. route in 2017. I am really dedicated to improving the lives and conditions of those down on their luck as I endured significant hardship growing up. Every boy and girl deserves a loving family and a happy home. That is why I am so excited to bike through the unbelievably breathtaking PNW on my first visit there and make a substantial contribution to people who need it. And of course, to have fun doing it!
My name is Olivia Wasteneys. I am 26 years old and Iâ€™m originally from a small town outside of Buffalo, NY called Orchard Park.
I went to Duke University, where I studied International Relations and Asian & Middle Eastern Studies. While at Duke, I studied Turkish, and was lucky to have several opportunities to live in Istanbul and Ankara, practice my language skills, and get to know the beautiful country of Turkey. After I graduated from college in 2014, I moved to a small town in the Black Sea Region of Turkey to teach English.
Today, I live in Washington, DC, where I work as a project manager at management consulting firm specializing in aerospace and defense. After three and half years of working in the fast-paced world of consulting, Iâ€™ve decided to take a sabbatical for the summer in search of a change of pace and a change of scenery.
I started biking several years ago, after I moved to DC and a college friend (and Bike & Build alum) encouraged me to buy a road bike. I quickly fell in love with the feeling of liberation and accomplishment that comes with riding 30 miles outside of the city with oneâ€™s own two legs in just a matter of hours. Biking became a way not only to get some exercise, but also to explore my new city and its environs on the weekend.
In DC the lack of affordable housing is severe issue. According to the DC Fiscal Policy Institute, rents for residents with incomes of about $22,000 a year increased $250 a month over the past decade, adjusting for inflation, while incomes remained flat. At the same time, Washington, DC now has half as many low-cost units as in 2002. As a resident of the District, itâ€™s hard not to notice the toll the lack of affordable housing can have on a city.
While the DC government has done a lot to make affordable housing a priority, it is clearly a complex challenge, that most Americans, including myself, often overlook. I want to participate in Bike & Build because I believe that the more we can do to educate ourselves, and then raise awareness and inform others, the better chance we have of making a difference. Ultimately, cities and citizens have a civic responsibility to create more affordable housing so that all residents have a safe and decent place to live.
My name is Theresa Willmott-McMahon. I am 19 years old and a sophomore at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine. I grew up in Alexandria, Virginia, which is right outside of Washington, D.C. I am studying Politics and Rhetoric with a concentration in Visual Art at Bates. You might be thinking â€œwhat is rhetoric?â€ In short, it is the study of communication and language with a particular emphasis on persuasion. So basically Iâ€™m spending four years learning how to beat everyone is arguments.
Since I was little, sports have been a huge part of my life (Go Yankees!). Name a sport, I have probably played it â€” baseball, basketball, soccer, swimming, diving, tennis, track, field hockey, lacrosse, and of course biking! Of all the sports, I have continued to play lacrosse in college. Sports have always held an important place in my heart because of the community they create. Working together to achieve a common goal unites a group and creates a family.
I am going on this trip with my twin brother, Brennan. We are both really competitive (hence all the sports) with each other unless we are on the same team, then nobody can take us down. Our mom told us that we should do a triathlon (approximately 25 miles of biking) so naturally, we decided to do a 980 mile bike trip instead. We have always loved watching cycling (love you Chris Froome) and biking ourselves. More importantly, we are bonded by our desire to help people who face less fortunate circumstances than the ones we were lucky enough to grow up in. When I heard about Bike & Build, I thought it was the perfect opportunity, combining two of the things that are most important to me.
The community created by Bike & Build is united by sport, but also a greater cause, affordable housing. This cause has always been important to me, but became closer to my heart last spring. I had the opportunity to volunteer as an assistant teacher in the English Language Learning (ELL) classrooms at Lewiston High School. Most of these students are refugees and immigrants who have already faced impossible hardships so early in their lives. Many of these students lived in affordable housing with their families and I could see how making their circumstance a little bit more manageable made a drastic impact on their lives.
I grew up in a house, I had a driveway to learn to ride a bike in and I believe everyone deserves to have that. Affordable housing should be a basic human right, not something you have to be born into. I have an opportunity to help provide it to more people, so how could I turn that down?
Hey, everyone! My name is Brittney Woodrum. Iâ€™m originally from a small town outside of Lexington, Kentucky. I attended the University of Kentucky where I studied Spanish and Arts Administration. After graduation, I bounced around quite a bit in search of my true calling. Having studied nonprofit administration, I used my experience to work in NGOs around the world in an attempt to realize my life mission of being of service wherever the need is greatest.
Upon graduating in 2015, I moved to Guadalajara, Mexico to teach English. I loved the culture and dynamic nature of teaching, but after a year there, my work opened another door to a similar opportunity a bit further away in Yangon, Myanmar. In Myanmar I lived and worked in a Buddhist nunnery to help build an English school for nuns. This was perhaps the most formidable year of my life. I completely immersed myself in the nunsâ€™ way of life, bringing no more than a backpack of possessions and embracing their day-to-day practices. Living with the nuns taught me about the simplicity of happiness, and I believe it was there that I adopted a more minimalistic lifestyle.
After my year in Myanmar, I decided that teaching English was not my true calling. I enjoyed teaching, but I wanted something more hands-on. Thatâ€™s why in July of 2017, I moved to Bangkok, Thailand where I began working for an outdoor education company whose mission focused on delivering fun, dynamic programs to international schools across Asia. I loved being outdoors, and it was in Bangkok that I first fell in love with cycling. I biked everywhere, enamored with the feeling of the city around meâ€¦ but it still wasnâ€™t right. Outdoor education was closer to what I wanted, but I still yearned for a greater connection with the community around me.
After my contract ended, I decided to move back to the US in the summer of 2018. In August, I began the Appalachian Trail as one last Hail-Mary-attempt at some epiphany. It didnâ€™t take long. Out on the trail, I realized that I was happiest whenever I had nothing more than the basic needs of life: food, water, shelter, and my health. I thought that if I could help provide those things for other people, I would be providing a huge service for those in need. Thatâ€™s how I found Bike & Build. As someone who genuinely wants to be of service to the global community, I am looking forward to working to confront and alleviate the Affordable Housing crisis across our nation and learning about other ways I can continue to do so beyond this summer.
Thank you so much for visiting my page.
Eat. Sleep. Bike. Build.
In 2016, Bike & Build will again offer scholarships to riders from at-risk backgrounds in Philadelphia to support their participation in Drift West.
Thank you for supporting our riders! The Bike & Build Scholarship increases access to volunteer service opportunities for young adults from underserved backgrounds in Philadelphia. Recipients will be enrolled in Coastal Drift, Bike & Build's summer regional ride in New England in 2016. For three weeks, riders will pedal as part of a team of 30 young adults. They will travel between multiple affordable housing organizations in Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New York, raising money and awareness to support these nonprofits. The scholarship is a life-changing opportunity for community engagement for those who may not otherwise have the chance to participate in such an event. Riders will develop skills in teamwork, leadership, and perseverance. This accomplishment will further engage scholarship recipients in service for many years beyond the completion of the trip. Bike & Build opens new doors to these young adults!
Donations will support riders’ required fundraising, the purchase of a bike, necessary cycling gear, and other expenses incurred during the program. After recipients are selected, riders will complete training miles, sweat equity build hours, and other preparations with the support of the Bike & Build Board, staff, sponsors, and community volunteers.
Please see our sponsorship packet (pdf, 1.5mb) to learn more about the success of last year’s scholarship program, the benefits of partnering with Bike & Build, and how to contribute. We appreciate your support!
If you would like to donate now, click below:
You can also donate by check payable to “Bike & Build.” Write “Scholarship” in the memo. Checks can be mailed to Bike & Build – 6153 Ridge Ave – Philadelphia, PA 19128.
Each year, Bike & Build solicits feedback from alumni. One of the most common suggestions is that we expand our outreach to young adults who might not have the resources or network to participate in B&B. Alums, the Bike & Build Scholarship was a direct result of your feedback. You played in a huge role in 2014, fundraising enough to provide one of our scholarship recipients with a bike to complete The Coastal Drift. This year, we are aiming for the Bike & Build network to fund a full scholarship!
We invite you to read more (pdf, 450kb) about the success of last year’s scholarship program the benefits of partnering with Bike & Build, and how to contribute. We appreciate your support!
If you would like to donate now, click below:
You can also donate by check payable to “Bike & Build.” Write “Scholarship” in the memo. Checks can be mailed to Bike & Build – 6153 Ridge Ave – Philadelphia, PA 19128.
This summer, Bike & Build will grant a limited number of scholarships to Drift West riders on the basis of need who demonstrate Bike & Build’s values: young adults with a passion for adventure and a commitment to making their community a better place. The scholarships will engage Philadelphia young adults from underserved backgrounds who may not otherwise have the opportunity to participate in B&B. Learn more here (pdf, 1.2mb).
Bike & Build gave me a personal perspective of how the affordable housing cause affects communities outside of my own in Mt. Airy. It also made me realize that I can do something about it. It’s inspiring to serve others and be a part of the solution.
The most important thing about Bike & Build is that you aren’t just sitting back and talking about helping others. You are actually doing it. I want to keep volunteering with affordable housing nonprofits, and I really want to do another Bike & Build trip. I mean, biking 50 miles is nothing now!