This is Vassar: The newsletter for Vassar College Alumnae/i and Families

Elysia Glover (Photo courtesy The Miscellany News / Juliana Halpert)

Have Bike, Will Build

3,842 miles. That’s the distance Elysia Glover ’11 is riding this summer as she cycles across the country. What she does along the way, however, is just as important as the cycling. 

Glover is riding with Bike and Build (B&B), a non-profit group that organizes cross-country bike rides for young adults, to benefit affordable housing organizations and projects. B&B raises awareness through a series of eight cross-country trips each summer. Each journey takes more than two months, and includes a dozen or so construction projects (“Build Days”) along the way. In the past eight years, the group has involved more than 1,250 riders, raised more than $2.7 million, spent more than 80,000 hours on builds, and pedaled more than 5 million miles.

For Glover’s part, her attraction to the program was “multi-faceted.” Glover’s family benefited from affordable housing when she was young, she says, allowing her mother “to focus on providing me and my sister with a quality education and adequate nutrition.” More recently, through Community Fellows, she worked with a Dutchess County lawyer on pro bono projects that dealt with a “mountain of foreclosure cases,” exposing her to “the incredible stress and instability plaguing families unable to afford to stay in their homes.” These experiences, combined with the call of the open road, made her a perfect match for B&B.

To prepare for the trip, Glover had to complete 500 miles of biking (including one 65-mile ride) before she could depart. She started her training last winter on a stationary bike in the living room of her Town House residence. With the assistance of Dan Decker, assistant coach of Vassar’s swimming and diving team, Glover routinely took 40-mile rides. Now, she’s on her way westward, one tire revolution at a time.

Her Atlantic-to-Pacific voyage began on June 18 and will traverse from Portland, Maine, to Santa Barbara, California. En route, she and 30-plus other riders will visit places such as Pittsburgh, Columbus, Bloomington, St. Louis, and Tulsa. On June 27 and 28, the ride came to Vassar and Poughkeepsie, which was more than coincidental.

The Maine-to-California route is dedicated to the memory of Chris Webber ’05, a Vassar graduate and passionate B&B participant—first as a trip coordinator, and then as the organization’s first program director—tragically killed in a New York City pedestrian accident in 2007. “The route is a testament to his character and his contribution to the cause of housing,” says Glover. “I am honored to be a part of it in however small a way.” –Seth Warner '14

Follow Glover's progress on her blog, On These Two Wheels.

Chris Webber

Chris Webber (Photo courtesy Bike and Build)


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