Bicycling for affordable housing

Published: Wednesday, May 28, 2014 at 11:53 AM.

Beginning in 2006, following Hurricane Katrina, the southern route was moved to skirt the Gulf Coast from the Panhandle to New Orleans and build days have focused on restoring communities damaged by the 2005 storm. The group will spend June 2 through 7 doing construction in New Orleans , and then travel to Baton Rouge where they will spend another day working as builders before taking off for North Texas .

Riders are accompanied by a support van but they still travel light. Each biker has a hydration pack to make sure they have plenty to drink in hot weather. They carry floor mats for sleeping and quick drying microfiber towels. Many of the riders also carry video cameras on their handlebars.

Although they have days off built into the trip, they stop riding only for dangerous weather like lightning.

Participants need not have previous building or cycling experience, or even a bicycle; Bike and Build provides the bicycle, which participants are allowed to keep upon completion of the trip. Bicycles are manufactured by Giant Bikes, USA of Newbury Park, California and are provided to Bike and Build at a discount.

Riders are required to complete 10 hours of “sweat equity” working with affordable housing groups before beginning the trip, and are required to ride at least 500 miles in training before their summer begins.

Group leader Gregory Powell said the group works closely with Habitat for Humanity.

The group of riders has four team leaders but for most participants, this is their first cross-country ride. Leaders arrange for lodgings on the trip and take turns driving the support vehicle.

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