Student Bikes Across Country for a Cause

April 23, 2007 

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. – It is tradition for many graduating college seniors to go on vacations with friends before entering the “real world.”  Adam Bohr, Illinois Wesleyan University senior and 2003 graduate of Aurora Central Catholic High School, found a way to combine both a fun activity and a way to give back to the community while taking advantage of one last summer vacation.  The accounting major will bike approximately 3,700 miles cross-country as part of the Bike & Build program before starting work in real estate tax at Ernst and Young in September.

Bike & Build aims to raise funds for affordable housing projects while introducing young adults to the cause and engaging them in a unique and interesting way.  The group has contributed more than $750,000 to housing groups to fund projects planned and executed by young adults.  In the process, its participants have collectively biked thousands of miles and educated countless communities across the country about the affordable housing crisis in America.  Bike & Build’s grant program also supports projects involving young people all throughout the nation, including many Habitat for Humanity endeavors.

The nine-week bike trip will begin on May 17 in Virginia Beach and end on July 25 in Cannon Beach, Ore.  Along with nearly 30 other bikers and three group leaders, most in their 20s, Bohr will bike through Virginia, West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, and Idaho before ending his trip in Oregon.  The group will bike during the day, starting out with easier rides and working up to 100-mile days through flat terrain, stopping at nine different sites to help with building efforts.  Local churches and community centers will provide the group with dinner and a place to sleep throughout their journey.

“I’ve always wanted to do a program like this, but have held myself back,” Bohr said, expressing excitement about his upcoming trip.  “There’s something so great about being outside, going on an adventure, and being able to help others in the process.”

Bohr began training last summer, alternating between 45-mile rides and 25-mile rides every other day.  He continued his training on a stationary bike during the winter, and now rides outside to prepare for the journey ahead.  “The biking program is a good draw for people who are athletically competitive and also enjoy helping others,” Bohr said.

While participants are required to raise $4,000, Bohr exceeded this goal in just three weeks after reaching out to family, friends and local businesses.  His younger sister’s school helped raise close to one thousand dollars by sponsoring a “Jeans Day” for which students could opt to pay $2 and wear jeans instead of their school uniforms.

Though the trip is only for the summer, Bohr expressed further involvement with similar efforts.  “I would love to be able to do a trip like this again as a group leader,” he said.

For those interested in contributing to the Bike & Build program, please send donations to: Bike & Build, 190 N. 10th St., Suite 308, Brooklyn, NY 11211, or call (718) 599-5925.  For additional information, visit www.bikeandbuild.org.

Contact: Amanda ReCupido, (309) 556-3181