Florida Tech Students Prepare For Bicycle Journey
By Alex Coultrup, Florida Tech // February 25, 2015
journey of nearly 3,600 miles
Cross-Country Biking Adventure To Benefit Affordable Housing
BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA – What do you have planned for summer vacation? For two Florida Tech civil engineering students, the answer is a cross-country biking adventure to make a difference for affordable housing.
“Bike and build is a nonprofit organization that organizes yearly cross-country trips for young adults to get involved with other nonprofits for affordable housing,” said Rocha.
Rocha says that Bike and Build is a good way to get young people involved with community service.
“A lot of times, they don’t know how they can help, how they can do something. Biking across the country is a good way to catch everyone’s attention.”
Affordable housing is important to Rocha, who heard about Bike and Build from Mike Renoe, a 2014 Florida Tech alumnus who participated in the program.
“He showed me pictures, videos and told me about the program and everything. I was like ‘I definitely want to do that.’”
The key thing is helping people, Rocha said.
“If I can help one family to have a house,” she said, “It’s going to be worth all the soreness, all the biking.”
Being able to do construction and learn practical skills on the Bike and Build journey makes for a useful opportunity, Rocha said.
“Because I study civil engineering and we will be building houses all along the way, I can use it as an internship,” she said.
Young adults who want to participate in Bike and Build don’t need any previous biking experience.
“I just biked like normal, from the house to school, and places like the market. But not professionally,” she said.
Rocha is also looking forward to seeing more of the country on her trip, which will pass through nine states.
“Biking is a unique way to get in touch with the places,” she said.
“It will help me get in touch with the culture of every community.”
Rocha is heading to North Carolina on May 15, where she will meet the rest of her Bike and Build team.
The team of about 30 young adults, mainly college students, will bike coast-to-coast across the United States.
Their journey of nearly 3,600 miles will take place over a two-and-a-half month period.
“There are eight routes,” Rocha said. “We bike around 70 miles a day, and on the days we build, we don’t bike.”
When the group reaches their build locations, they will help with the construction of a house there.
“Usually it’s Habitat for Humanity or another affordable house organization,” she said.
To prepare for the journey, each participant will ride 500 miles.
Rocha says that the staff at Infinity Bike Shop in Melbourne recommended some good roads to train on.
“There are some good roads in Viera, and the beach route from here to Cocoa.”
Each Bike and Build participant must raise $4,500 in order to participate in the program.
To help with this, each individual has a personal fundraising profile on bikeandbuild.org, and can be found by searching their individual rider number. Rocha and Costa’s numbers are 7828 and 7915.
Rocha said that both she and Costa have reached just less than half of their fundraising goals.
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