From Staff and Board
As Bike & Build enters its 15th summer as an organization, we would like to take the opportunity to thank our entire extended family of alumni, donors, hosts, build partners, and members of the community for all of your support over the years. Without you, our organization’s impact on the affordable housing landscape would not have been possible. Our now over 3,300 dedicated young adults who have participated in B&B have accomplished a lot these past 15 years, spending 225,000 hours volunteering on build sites and donating more than $6.2 million to hundreds of affordable housing organizations across the country. In addition to having an immediate, measurable impact on the affordable housing cause, our riders have built leadership and community service skills as well as a spirit they take into their careers, families and communities - all made possible by our dedicated supporters.
In 2016, Bike & Build once again continued its varied and widespread impact on both the affordable housing cause and the development of young adult leaders while we worked on additional measures to create more conversation around safety. We added a daily rotating position on each trip for riders to monitor the riding habits of their teammates from the vantage point of the support vehicle, where they assisted the driver and shared observations and suggestions on safety with fellow riders. We engaged multiple cycling organizations in regular communication to share safety protocols and employ best practices, and we consulted with companies such as Adventure Cycling Association and Fehr & Peers for extensive route planning and evaluation. Our alumni reached out to cycling advocacy organizations across the country while riders made calls to media outlets to alert communities of cyclists passing through the area. As we continue our efforts to ensure the safety of our participants, we also know that our riders - along with cyclists everywhere - rely on the people with whom they share the road to do their part by driving safely, watching for cyclists on the road, and never driving distracted.
Even as we put in additional measures to increase awareness for our riders, our community experienced another tragedy in 2016. Anne Davis, an inspiring and passionate rider on our Central US route, was struck and killed by a distracted driver while cycling in Idaho. Her fellow rider, Laura Stark, sustained serious injuries and continues in her recovery efforts. We strive daily to honor the memory of Anne by continuing the mission for which she displayed such passion and commitment.
As we look forward to 2017 and beyond, we also take time to look back and reflect. The Bike & Build community has had an incredible impact throughout its history, while experiencing significant challenges. The strength that propels our organization has always derived from the support of our wider community, and for that we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
Our dedication to our participants, to our mission, and to the affordable housing cause could not be stronger.
—Bike & Build Staff and Board
What is Bike & Build?
We envision future generations that are committed to a lifetime of civic engagement and inspire individuals and communities to create fair, decent housing for all Americans.
Through service-oriented cycling trips, Bike & Build benefits affordable housing and empowers young adults for a lifetime of service and civic engagement.
Capital Ride 2013, Connecticut to California 2016
Fresh out of high school, 18 year old Daniel Farmer had his first adventure with Bike & Build on 2013’s Capital Ride. During this 15-day route, Daniel rode from Richmond, VA, to Philadelphia, PA, spending four of those days building affordable homes throughout the Mid-Atlantic part of the country.
“On the Capital Ride, my favorite ride was into DC. It was my first century, which was a big deal,” says Daniel. “Then, as we got into the city, several alumni joined us, which was my first taste of what being in the B&B network means, and how much it would matter to me to join the ranks of B&B alumni.”
While 2013 would see the final edition of Bike & Build’s first regional ride, as the Capital Ride paved the way for our current Drift routes, the experience was only the beginning of Daniel’s participation with B&B. In 2016 - 3 years after his journey from Richmond to DC - Daniel returned to B&B as part of the Connecticut to California ride.
Daniel hails from Bike & Build’s home base in the City of Brotherly Love - Philadelphia, PA. After graduating from Central High School and participating in the Capital Ride, Daniel headed to the University of Delaware where he is now finishing his senior year. He is majoring in Environmental Studies, and minoring in Organizational and Community Leadership, as well as Spanish Studies. Daniel’s two B&B trips just scratch the surface of his dedication to service. Since beginning at the University of Delaware, Daniel has been involved with the university’s Alternative Breaks Program, where he serves as the Diversity and Inclusion Co-Chair of the Executive Board. Last spring, Daniel interned at the Newark Bike Project, where he assisted the creation and implementation of a cycling education program called the Youth Empowerment Program.
Come May 2017, Daniel’s commitment to service will take him to new horizons as he will join the Peace Corps to serve as an Environmental Education Volunteer in Mexico.
Northern US 2016
When Megan applied to be a Bike & Build Trip Leader in 2016, she was living in New York City and needed a change of pace. She had heard about B&B after a friend completed the South Carolina to Santa Cruz trip in 2014, and felt inspired by the physical challenge and fundraising component of the program.
“When I signed up to be a trip leader it was with the intention of giving back to the communities that we were going to be going through,” says Megan, “but on my own personal note I really wanted to find where I was going to hit my wall.”
Leading Northern US was the challenge she had been seeking.
Bike & Build was not Megan’s first long-distance cycling tour, as she previously completed the AIDS/LifeCycle Ride to End AIDS - a weeklong journey from San Francisco to Los Angeles that benefits HIV and AIDS services in those communities. Megan is from LA, and when she heard about the ride from a family friend, she knew she had to be a part of it: “I had a lot of energy and love to give and needed somewhere to put it.” Her experiences on the AIDS/LifeCycle ride, which she describes as “like Burning Man on wheels,” helped prepare her as a leader and cyclist with Bike & Build this past year.
Building community is a common thread that runs through Megan’s passions and what she does. With Bike & Build, Megan and her team served multiple communities as their location and impact changed on a daily basis while they traveled across the country. AIDS LifeCycle provided the opportunity to have a more localized impact and invest in a particular community. After completing Northern this past summer, Megan actually began working for AIDS LifeCycle as a Cycle Rep, where she handles everything from rider management to leading the org’s Women’s Initiative - all while living out her passion for service and helping people.
Megan views her current position to be in many ways an extension of her work for B&B, and a further expression of her dedication to serving others. Speaking to anyone who might be thinking about getting more involved with service work and causes for social justice, Megan says, “My advice to anybody right now, specifically at this moment in time, is: If ever there were a time to be the best version of yourself on behalf of others, it would be now.”
Fundraising Total Per Rider
Our Top 5 Fundraisers
Meegan Jayne Smith
In 2016, Bike & Build continued to grow its Scholarship Program, offering 3 full cross-country scholarships, 1 full Drift scholarship, and 1 partial cross-country scholarship.
We would like to thank the families, friends, and committee members of the Chris Webber Memorial Scholarship, Patrick Zuza Scholarship, and Margaret Lowe Scholarship, as well as the Bike & Build Alumni Council, for their continued dedication to our Scholarship Program and recipients.
Our Scholarship Recipients
Chris Webber Memorial Scholarship
“The best part about Bike & Build is the ability to be present every moment… I have so many vivid and distinct memories that I wouldn't have had the opportunity to create without Bike & Build.”
Patrick Zuza Scholarship
“It is amazing to see how a group of individuals united in a cause greater than themselves can make such a difference... I am extremely grateful to the Bike & Build Scholarship Program for giving me the chance to take advantage of such an amazing trip and volunteer opportunity.”
Bike & Build Scholarship
“Bike and Build has inspired me to look at seemingly impossible tasks in a new way, and has allowed me to see future challenges as entirely possible.”
Bike & Build Scholarship
“I learned that life can bring challenges, but with the right attitude and support team, anything is possible. I learned that I was much stronger and more capable than I thought and if I truly put my mind to something I can do it.”
Margaret Lowe Scholarship
“Bike & Build taught me it is okay to ask others for help when you need it… My favorite part of the trip looking back on it now was all the struggles and triumphs that brought my team closer together.”
Our Riders Rode
Total Combined Miles
In 2016, we once again ran 8 cross-country and 2 regional Drift trips. Check out where we rode this past summer!
Our Riders Volunteered
Over 129 build days.
To Affordable Housing Organizations
Through 4 Grant Programs
- Competitive Grant Program
- Rider $500 Grant
- On The Road Donation
- Pre-Arranged Contributions
Our Grants Helped
Affordable Housing Organizations
New Executive Director
Bike & Build enters 2017 with a new Executive Director for the organization - meet Ron Stepanek! Ron brings more than 20 years of executive leadership experience in both nonprofit management and the outdoor sports industry. He has served as Executive Director for many organizations where he excelled at growing smaller orgs in impact and fundraising efforts, as well as guiding them through transitional periods. Ron also spent a significant amount of time within the PGA of America organization where he had extensive leadership responsibilities over local, regional, and national initiatives.
Right from the start I was excited about the potential of working for Bike & Build. The more I researched the organization, the more I was overwhelmed by the positive energy throughout the entire Bike & Build community. The impact riders have had in communities across the country is truly inspiring.
I feel fortunate to become part of this very special team, and I look forward to build on the organization’s strong foundation and help lead Bike & Build into an even better future.
Focus on Safety
Safety remains the number one focus of Bike & Build programming. The bullets below outline general amendments and additions to our safety program developed after engaging external consultants to review our current routes and route processes, discussing past practices and policies with other young-adult driven, nonprofit organizations, and reviewing feedback from our alumni and others close to B&B. We will continue to hold our riders to the highest safety standards while advocating for shared roads. For more on our safety program, please visit our website’s ‘Safety’ page.
Before ordering their bike, riders must pass the League of American Bicyclists TS101 online safety quiz in addition to an extensive Bike & Build specific safety quiz. The B&B safety quiz was completely re-written in 2016 to be more comprehensive and engaging while including notes about the inherent dangers of cycling and address our accident history (topics that will continue to be discussed in both the leader and rider manuals, at orientation, and on the road). Riders must score a 100% on this quiz.
The 500 mile requirement is tracked via a spreadsheet with which the entire team interacts. Failure to complete training miles pre-trip will lead to expulsion from the trip. In addition, riders must affirm they completed at least one ride in the rain, one ride with a group, and one ride in hilly terrain.
In addition to safety triangles, riders are issued a daytime-visibility flashing tail light (which was required to be on at all times when riding) in addition to a front flashing light. As an additional element of visual engagement, riders are provided with neon flagging tape to strap to their hydration packs.
When developing cue sheets, leaders are required to use specific criterion and evaluate their cue sheet using several external resources. Once the cue sheet is complete, a second leader will review it; then that leader’s mentor (someone who has been a leader within the past two years) will review it. If there are still concerns, a staff member will review the cue sheet. Staff also randomly reviews cue sheets.
Over the course of the trip, every rider is required to spend 2+ days in the van serving as the “Safety Navigator”. This person assists our support vehicle drivers, ensuring they are not distracted by phone calls, navigation issues, etc. The Safety Navigator also notes riding habits and safety practices as the vehicle approaches and passes riders, takes general notes about the cue sheet for future record, assists with lunch set up/ clean up, answers phone calls, and other potential responsibilities relative to that day (grocery store runs, rider pick-ups, etc).
This year we implemented new outreach initiatives for alumni and riders to contact media and police before we ride into each town.
Mandatory and structured opportunities for dialogue and feedback on both the route and safety practices have been added to on-the-road schedules.
We Increased To
Our riders’ commitment to service and civic engagement does not end when they reach the Pacific Ocean. After Bike & Build, the majority of young adults in our program continue in volunteer efforts in their own communities and around the world.
In addition to the work our alums do in their communities, many continue to stay involved through the efforts of the Bike & Build Alumni Council. In 2016, the Council oversaw a number of impact initiatives from raising funds for the B&B Scholarship to organizing alumni volunteer days in communities around the country to distributing $6,000 in emergency grant funds to Habitat for Humanity of Jacksonville and the St. Bernard Project in New Orleans for disaster relief in the wake of Hurricane Matthew and severe flooding in the south. They also helped spearhead new advocacy initiatives that included reaching out to state and national bike advocacy organizations, as well as encouraging participation in the national It Can Wait campaign to raise awareness for and help bring about an end to distracted driving. Learn more about the Bike & Build Alumni Council’s efforts!
In 2017, we plan to conduct a comprehensive and wide-ranging longitudinal study to further measure the continued impact of Bike & Build on our alumni.
A few Alumni data points:
of our 2016 riders consider public service their civic duty
of riders said their experience with B&B led to personal growth
Before the trip, 35% of our riders volunteered with Affordable Housing Organizations, after the trip 87% are dedicated to volunteering at least a few times a year
of our riders believe that everyone has a moral commitment to civic affairs