Letter: Group pedals for a good cause

From: The Rev. Felipe Martinez, Mary Ann McCray and First Presbyterian volunteers


For the past seven years, First Presbyterian Church has had the pleasure of hosting a group of bicyclists riding from the East Coast to the West Coast. These young people ride to promote a cause they feel passionate about — affordable housing for all people. The group is called Bike and Build headquartered in Philadelphia (visit bikeandbuild.org). They ride to raise money and raise awareness. They stop in 10 communities to assist local organizations in building and repairing homes for people needing help.

This year’s group came through Columbus on June 6, having pedaled from Cincinnati that day. None of them are professional bicycle riders, although they have each raised $4,500 to make the trip and demonstrated they could ride by logging a minimum of 500 miles before starting this cross-country venture. There were 26 young people (10 men/16 women) in the group this year. They left Yorktown, Virginia, on May 21 and are scheduled to arrive at Cannon Beach, Oregon, on July 31. The average age of the group was 23. Some have another year of college to complete; others are doing post-graduate college work, and all are in a pivotal point in life.

The riders are traveling with the bare necessities and staying in churches, college dorms, a convention center and a couple of campsites. They were recruited to make this journey by friends, the Bike and Build website and the administrator of the Bike and Build organization.

Our church members were so inspired by this group of young people. They demonstrated passion for their journey, teamwork with concern for one another, and instant friendliness and appreciation toward us. They had an opportunity to see our community as they arrived, relished a shower at Central Middle School, enjoyed walking through our downtown with its arts/architecture, had dinner at our church and more dessert at Zaharakos. They left for Bloomington early June 7 after breakfast with us. They remain in our thoughts and prayers as they continue their journey. We look forward to hosting another group from Bike and Build in 2017.