Cross-country cyclists, builders stop to help Silt Habitat project

Special to the Sentinel—Members of Bike & Build cycle cross-country to raise funds for affordable-housing programs and help out at projects, including this duplex in Silt being built by Habitat for Humanity of the Roaring Fork Valley.

More than 30 cross-country bicyclists who stopped in Silt last week barely stayed long enough for their tires to cool off, but it was adequate time to get much of the exterior wall frame of a Habitat for Humanity duplex built.

“It just goes to show you what kind of progress and construction can go on with that many people,” said Rick Farr of Rifle, a construction supervisor for Habitat for Humanity of the Roaring Fork Valley.

The workers are part of the nonprofit Philadelphia-based Bike & Build program ( Participants raise funds for affordable-housing programs and pitch in on housing projects during stops on coast-to-coast rides.

After a day of work Thursday and a second night’s rest in Silt, the workers pedaled on to Meeker. They were scheduled to complete another work day Tuesday and reach Salt Lake City today.

Said Farr, “I can’t imagine bicycling across the United States and taking their days off and working like they are. I think they’ve got a great program and great dedication to try to help the affordable-housing industry.”

Alicia Stanley and her husband, Paul, will be buying one of four Silt duplexes to be built by Habitat for Humanity. The two spent some time working with the cyclists under a scorching sun.

The cyclists took an interest in how the Stanleys got chosen for a Habitat for Humanity home, she said. Paul Stanley was laid off from a school counseling job a few years ago and has been working part-time ever since.

“We felt like we wanted a home and knew we probably wouldn’t get that for a long time unless we applied for this,” Alicia Stanley said.

The Bike & Build cyclists, who couldn’t be reached for comment Tuesday, range in age from 18 to 25 years old. But the program’s interim director of operations, Molly Jacobs, said she thinks the energy they muster for construction projects when they’re off their bikes speaks more to their excitement than their youth. The program’s goal is to get them interested in continuing their volunteerism involving affordable housing or other causes.

“The idea is we show people how rewarding it is to be involved in civic service,” Jacobs said.


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