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Prospective Riders
Quick Links: Before the trip | During the trip | After the trip

So you’re thinking about cycling across the country this summer?
Here’s everything you need to know to make the decision and get started with fundraising and training.

Bike & Build is a three-step process. The organization, trip leaders, and alumni network will support you as you prepare for your trip, while you cross the country, and when you return.

Read the sections below to learn what rider responsibilities are, and to get an idea about what life on the road is like.

Before the Trip

Select a Route.
  • Don't worry if you've never cycled long-distances before -- our riders range from beginners to seasoned cyclists to everywhere in between. With a little training, a lot of determination, and a huge network of supportive alumni, you’ll be set to take off for the Pacific.
  • In 2014, Bike & Build will support eight cross-country rides. Visit our Routes page to select your top choices.
  • Applications are available in the fall. Check the home page of our website and watch Facebook for updates.

Meet your trip leaders, fellow riders, and local alumni network.
  • Download the Bike & Build Facebook app and start connecting with your fellow riders, trip leaders, and our enthusiastically supportive alumni network.

Learn about Affordable Housing.
  • According to Habitat for Humanity, the world’s largest nonprofit affordable housing organization, over 5.1 million American families have "worst-case" housing needs in which they endure overcrowded conditions and/or live in physically deficient houses. Additionally, more than 13 million American households pay over 50% of their income for housing (www.habitat.org).

  • It's okay if you don't know a lot about affordable housing issues prior to your trip. Take the time now to do some research: Habitat for Humanity’s great resources page is a good place to start. On the road, you’ll confront these issues in person, as you pass through towns where people combat affordable housing issues on a daily basis. You'll also speak with the community members and the media about this important national crisis.

  • Each rider is responsible for raising at least $4,500 prior to departure. Bike & Build donates the majority of the money its participants raise to youth-led affordable housing projects across the country. The money you raise will also help pay for trip expenses along the way -- such as your bike, food, and fuel for the support van.

  • Bike & Build will send you a detailed Fundraising Guide to help you work towards this goal.

  • Trip Leaders will help facilitate group fundraising projects if possible, and alumni are always available to share their creative ideas and offer support. Over 1,250 alumni have completed this feat. You will, too.

Complete your Sweat Equity.

  • Before the beginning of your trip, you’ll be required to fulfill a volunteer requirement of at least 10 hours helping on a construction site with a local affordable housing group. Part of the Bike & Build sweat equity will include researching and preparing a presentation on affordable housing to give while on the road. We’ll provide you with more information about this aspect of sweat equity once you sign up, and will do our best to help you learn more about the cause and organization as you prepare for summer.

Ride Your Bike.
  • Bike & Build will provide you with a bike as you reach your fundraising goals on time. This bike will be yours to keep at the end of the trip. The sooner you start fundraising, the sooner you receive your bike -- and the sooner you start training.

  • You’ll be required to log a minimum of 500 miles on your Bike & Build bike before you begin your trip. No matter what your cycling experience, spending time on your bike is essential for your comfort and safety while on your trip.

  • Don’t worry -- we'll do our best to acclimate you to the challenge ahead by easing you into the cycling, and before the trip begins we'll send you training materials to help you prepare. During orientation, we'll teach you how to care for your bike, make basic repairs, and ride in groups safely.

Get Used to Your Gear.
  • Bike & Build will supply you with a list of gear that you will need for the trip, along with advice and discounts to help guide your purchases. As always, the alumni network is a great resource for tips, tricks, and recommendations.

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During the Trip

- Orientation

  • Prior to your trip departure you will have a multi-day orientation with your leaders and riders. During this time you will learn basic bike maintenance, complete a bike safety course, get to know your fellow riders, and finish preparations for the adventure ahead.

Day in the Life

  • Each day on Bike & Build is different, however this outline provides a rough idea of what to expect in a typical day.

6 AMWakeup--pack your bags, load the van, eat breakfast.

7:30 AM Morning meeting – the point leader goes over the day's route and distributes directions; everyone participates in a group stretch and then individually checks and tunes their bikes.

Ride at your own pace – break up into groups of people you’re comfortable riding with- generally no more than 3-4 people; throughout the day stop to check out points of interest along the route.

11:30 AM Lunch- support van will have set up a pre-arranged lunch stop. Everyone catches up with the group and takes a break to replenish and refuel!

3-4 PM- Arrive- hosts will greet you at the pre-arranged nightly accommodation location and welcome you after a long day on the bike.

  • Shower- at locations pre-arranged. Sometimes it is a YMCA or gym, other times it may be a garden hose.
  • Complete chore group responsibilities– riders are responsible for helping with day-to-day operations of trip. These responsibilities rotate on a weekly basis and range from cleaning the van to grocery shopping for the next day's lunch. This allows riders to take ownership of the trip and contribute to its success.

6 pm Potluck dinner- eat, meet, and interact with local community members.

7 pmPresentation- each trip has a PowerPoint presentation which it gives to community members at host locations. Riders share anecdotes from the trip, explain what life is like on the road, and what Bike & Build's mission is. These are a lot of fun and present an opportunity to spread awareness about the affordable housing crisis and learn about regional issues.

FREE TIME You will have plenty of opportunities throughout the day and after you arrive at your night's destination to get off your bike, explore, talk to locals, call home and relax.

Build Days

  • Each trip has several scheduled en-route Build Days where, instead of cycling, the group will spend a day (or even a week!) working on the construction of affordable homes and making a tangible difference for individuals and families in need.

Days Off

  • In addition to Build Days, each trip includes multiple days off. Riders enjoy spending multiple nights in the same spot to sleep-in, explore, go whitewater rafting, attend a baseball game, swim or just relax.


  • Along the way, your group will stay in churches, synagogues, schools, YMCAs, campgrounds, community centers, and even local homes that are prearranged by your trip leaders. These hospitable hosts will also arrange for showering facilities and introduce you to the local food and culture.

  • On many occasions, your dinners and breakfasts will be provided by your generous hosts. If your food is not provided, then you will shop and cook as a group. Picnic-style lunches will be provided for you each day on the road.
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After the Trip

- Become lifelong advocates for the affordable housing cause: Get more involved with the organizations we support.
Build a Bike & Build House near you.
  • Several Bike & Build trips are city-based. In addition to supporting affordable housing groups on the road, money raised goes to support an entirely youth-funded, youth-built house. Check with your local affordable housing organization for more information.
Actively participate in Bike & Build's Alumni Network!
  • Bike & Build’s alumni are part of a unique community – one that we are dedicated to maintaining. Connect with our communities on Facebook, LinkedIn, and through our regional listservs.

  • Join the Alumni Council. Bike & Build encourages alumni participation to improve our programming and work to identify new directions to accomplish our mission. The Alumni Council acts as a conduit between the organization and its alumni base, and there are always fun projects to undertake

  • Participate in one of our alumni rides. Both the annual Chris Webber Memorial Ride and the Capital Ride have huge alumni participation each year.

  • Lead a trip! Each year, more and more alumni come back to lead a full summer trip. Why not use all you learned on your first trip to help make another one even better.