This summer Virginia Tech students will be biking across the U.S. to raise money and awareness about Habitat for Humanity. The cyclists participating in the first annual Virginia Tech "Bike and Build" program will begin their journey on May 15 in Blacksburg, and will reach their destination of Portland, Ore. on July 19.
The group will be led by veteran biker, Kristin Craig, a senior English major at Virginia Tech, and Fran Walsh, a senior geography major. To complete their journey of 3,650 miles, the cyclists will begin by biking around 30 miles a day and by the end of their journey they will be biking up to 100 miles a day to reach their scheduled destinations. En route, the student leaders will make presentations in 55 pre-selected cities and in order to raise awareness for Habitat for Humanity, and to give bicycle safety and maintenance clinics. The trip will also include six "build" days where the cyclists will help local Habitat chapters with their housing projects.
The group hopes to raise $50,000 to donate to the local chapter of Habitat for Humanity for a student built home in Blacksburg. To raise the money, the cyclists will hold fundraisers and accept donations to reach the $3,750 that each participant must donate in order to go on the trip. According to Marc Bush, the director of "Bike and Build," this trip allows students to make larger contributions to the housing needs of the Blacksburg community.
This is the first "Bike and Build" from Tech and Craig hopes that it will become an annual event. "If it does," Craig said, "we will see a tremendous increase in Habitat's success in the New River Valley."
The cyclists will travel through twelve states, cross the Blue Ridge and Rocky Mountains, bike through America's Heartland and camp in national parks along the way. "When you cross the country so slowly, you have a chance to notice things you would have never seen in a car. It's the small things that really make a trip like this memorable and exciting," Craig said.
There is still space available, and all levels of cyclists are encouraged to participate. According to Craig, "Each day of the trip is up to you, so you can bike at your own pace." "Bike and Build" will be providing all the necessities for the cyclists including a bike, meals, and accommodations along the way.
If you are unable to participate in the actual ride, support is welcomed by Habitat through donations to the cyclists or the Virginia Tech Chapter of Habitat for Humanity.
For more information about the trip, or to fill out an application, visit www.bikeandbuild.org.
To learn more about Habitat for Humanity, visit http://filebox.vt.edu/org/habitat/index.html.