It was a beautiful summer afternoon at Leadbetter Beach in sunny Santa Barbara. Excitement was building as 50 friends and family gathered to wait for their approaching loved ones. Sidewalk chalk drawings and messages adorned the walking paths leading to the group picnic site. Champagne was chilled and all in attendance waited in anticipation…
“I see them!”
32 Bike and Build riders, ages 18-25, finally arrived in Santa Barbara, crossing the finish line marking the end of their 2 ½ month long journey riding their bicycles across the country from Maine to Santa Barbara. Coined ME2SB, these riders reunited with their loved ones after their epic journey. Not only did these courageous young adults ride their bikes across the United States, but they raised money and volunteered for affordable housing projects all along the way. Each participant was required to raise $4,500 to provide support for affordable housing non-profits across the country. As we learned that day from the riders, there were ups, there were downs, and there were many smashed meals (inside joke! – referring to one of the many practical jokes they played on each other throughout the trip. Anyone who left their food unattended were fair game for another rider to literally smash their food with their fist!) At the end of the day, all 32 riders completed their journey and were rewarded with a wheel dip in the Pacific Ocean, champagne toasts, hugging, cheering, and a huge meal befitting of a group this dedicated.
GRID Alternatives proudly partnered up with Habitat for Humanity Southern Santa Barbara and the Community Environmental Council to show appreciation for and applaud the efforts of this phenomenal group of young people. “It brought tears to my eyes. The miles these young people travelled to assist affordable housing projects, such as GRID Alternatives, shows tremendous dedication. These riders are all champions for this very worthy cause, “ says Barby Wunsch, Development Officer for GRID Central Coast. “It has been such a pleasure working with Bike and Build and we look forward to supporting their efforts for many years to come!”
Bike & Build, Inc. is an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Through service-oriented cross-country cycling trips, Bike & Build benefits affordable housing and empowers young adults for a lifetime of service and civic engagement. Over the past 13 seasons we have engaged over 3,000 young adults, granted $5.8 million, built for 200,000 hours, and pedaled 9.5 million miles to advocate for the affordable housing cause in the United States. The Bike & Build Grant Program supports the efforts of affordable housing orgs by funding projects that mobilize youth and/or young adults to get involved in affordable housing. It is our objective that this program will expand opportunities for young adults to become involved in addressing this vital need.