The woman who bikes across America to raise money for charitable housing
There’s a more than 3,000 miles distance between Providence, on America’s north-east coast, and Seattle, on the other side of the country. But this is the distance a woman will cover on a bike to raise money for affordable housing projects. Her story is an example of altruism and social commitment in times when material interest seem to prevail.
Carolyn Valentine is a chef and baker by training. But in a few days, she will be trading in her apron for cycling gear on a biking trek all the way from Providence to Seattle.
“The idea is to raise money and to raise awareness of the need for affordable housing around the country,” she told the Sun Chronicle. She will not be traveling alone, but as part of a group sponsored by Bike and Build, which has raised more than $4 million since 2003 to aid housing organizations throughout the United States.
Each participant has to bring in 4,500 USD to qualify for the ride. Bike and Build currently sponsors group cycling trips on nine routes each summer. Money raised in these campaign goes to help affordable housing organizations to expand operations and serve more people.
Bikers will stop along the way to help in different non-profit construction projects and will also conduct a series of public presentations to raise awareness about housing needs across America. According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, 20 million Americans are severely burdened by housing costs, meaning they pay more than half their income in rent. This figure is a third more than a decade ago.
Carolyn, the woman who bikes across America and who did some serious training to be able to cope with the physical challenge of the 3,000 miles distance, will be joined by her brother who completed the same trip five years ago during a breast cancer awareness campaign.
If things go right, Carolyn expects to finish the trip mid-August. She and her fellow bicyclers will be staying in church halls, gymnasiums and campgrounds as they cross the country from east to west.