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Chicago Cyclist to Help Build 12 Houses During Bike Ride Across 12 States

By Justin Breen | April 10, 2015 6:48am | Updated on April 10, 2015 7:13am
 Ruth Rosas
Ruth Rosas
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CHICAGO — The numbers seem daunting: 12 houses, 12 states, 3,869 miles, 114 days.

But Ruth Rosas is beyond pumped to tackle the Bike & Build challenge, where the Ravenswood resident and UIC graduate will ride a bicycle across the country and help build houses along the way.

"I am pretty nervous about the physical challenge, but I’m mostly excited," Rosas, 25, said. "I’m going to be meeting a lot of new people who are really passionate about affordable housing and traveling and biking."

Justin Breen discusses the incredible challenge:

Rosas' un-fancy trip, which she'll take with 30 others, begins May 23. She'll start in Charlottesville, Virginia, and bike across West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, Utah, Wyoming and Idaho before finally finishing at Cannon Beach, Oregon, on Aug. 5.

The longest single-day ride will be 101 miles in Wyoming, said Rosas, who doesn't own a car and bikes about 60 to 70 miles each week in the city. She also is heavily involved in local biking organizations Active Transportation Alliance and Women Bike Chicago.

"Bicycling is a great way to travel, and it’s a great way to see the country," Rosas said.

Bike & Build, a nonprofit organization, has its riders stop a few days at a time to help construct affordable housing residences. Rosas and her team will assist in the construction of homes in St. Louis, Denver and Cincinnati, among other cities. All riders also must raise at least $4,500 — through Thursday morning, Rosas had raised $1,165.

"Mostly I think this is something if you’re young and you want to help people, it’s a really great way to get involved," Rosas said. "I hope people support what I’m doing, and I hope I can educate people about affordable housing throughout my fundraising."

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