GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A group of young people are biking across the country and building homes along the way.
The group is appropriately called Bike & Build. Members started their journey in New Hampshire on June 16 and so far have peddled 1,100 miles. Sunday, they started their trip in Eaton Rapids and ended in Grand Rapids.
“It was really awesome to be rolling into Grand Rapids,” said Allison Jones.
The West Michigan native — also the sister of 24 Hour News 8’s Casey Jones — is one of the 25 people, ages 18 to 29, taking part in the ride.
“It’s like I road my bike home today. Granted, I rode it almost 90 miles home,” Jones said.
The bikers have about 2,400 miles ahead of them until they reach their final destination in Vancouver, British Columbia in August. They average about 70 miles each day they are on the road.
When they aren’t riding, they’re working to build homes in the cities they visit.
“They are going to come in and do some insulation,” Herman Lee Bonner said.
Bonner lives in one of the homes the Bike & Build team will be working on over the next two days.
“I think it’s great,” he said.
Bonner was homeless until Well House, a local nonprofit working to end homelessness, gave him a place to stay.
“Coming from the streets to here is a big difference,” Bonner said.
The goal of the ride is to help more people like Bonner. Riders give their time and money, and each raises a minimum of $4,500. Most of that goes to the building causes because meals and lodging are donated.
“You kind of think that you are getting into this, ‘Oh, I’m going to do something great and I’m going to effect a lot of people,’” Jones said. “And then you meet so many people who are doing great things for you.”
Bike & Build is a national organization that works to “create decent housing for all Americans.”