If you’ve ever taken part in a project with an organization like Habitat for Humanity, you know how much a small group of people can accomplish in just a day.
Starting with a plain concrete slab, 20 or so volunteers can frame a house, put up the roof trusses, finish the roof, install the walls, windows and doors and lock the place up at the end of the day and go home.
Taking part is actually fun.
Now just consider that your plan is to ride a bicycle anywhere from 37 to more than 100 miles a day to get to the building site and get up early the next morning and get to work.
Oh, and you’re also kicking in a substantial amount of money to help pay for the houses you build.
That might not seem like many people’s idea of a vacation, but Jordan Redding of Fort Wayne is planning to do just that this summer, heading out on a bicycle from Connecticut on May 30 and finishing a 4,000-mile trip in California on Aug. 13. She plans to ride with a group of 31 cyclists who will talk up Bike and Build, the organization they are associated with, in the towns where they stop and pitch in on the construction of at least 15 houses along the way.
Bike and Build has been in operation for several years and about 3,000 cyclists have completed the trek in that time.
It’s not a cheap proposition, though. Churches and individual families put the riders up in the various towns where they stop and provide them with meals.
But participants are expected to raise at least $4,500 each, the majority of which goes toward Habitat, Bike and Build and Rebuilding Together to finance building projects.
If you have a family and friends with deep pockets it helps. In Redding’s case, she is resorting to, among other things, a silent auction to be from 5 to 8 p.m. Feb. 28 at ted’s wine bar – they don’t capitalize their name – at 12628 Coldwater Road, just south of Union Chapel Road.
“I’ve gotten quite a few critical donations from businesses,” Redding said. Finding those donations for the event is important.
Meanwhile, Redding, who is an athletic trainer at Manchester University in North Manchester, also has to get herself in shape for a bicycle ride across the country.
Cyclists are advised to put in at least 500 miles of cycling to get in shape and to go on at least one 65-mile ride.
As a trainer Redding is probably in pretty good shape, but the ride is 4,000 miles long and the longest day on a bicycle is expected to be 115 miles.
The bright side is that the riders do get a day off occasionally – to help build a house.
Frank Gray reflects on his and others’ experiences in columns published Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. He can be reached by phone at 461-8376, fax at 461-8893, or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow him on Twitter @FrankGrayJG.