Kristine Perria will cycle across the country for Habitat for Humanity
By Robert Downes 11/2/09
Pedaling across the nation to raise funds for affordable housing is the goal of Kristine Perria, a student at the University of Michigan who is combining her love of cycling with an interest in social justice.
On June 18t I will be setting off from Boston on a cross-country bike trip with an organization called Bike and Build, Perria says. Two months, seven housing projects and 3,705 miles later, I will roll into Santa Barbara, California with 30 fellow bikers.
A 2007 graduate of St. Francis High School who is presently in the secondary education program at U-M with several science majors, Perria has had a long-time interest in cycling and running.
When I was young, my parents, two younger sisters and I would frequently take bike rides together on the weekends, she says. We carried on this tradition when we moved to Traverse City in 2003. My passion for cycling also stems from my love of running. I ran cross-country and track in high school. Since then, I have permanently made physical activity and the team spirit a part of my life.
During her summer breaks, Perria commuted by bicycle between jobs at the Grand Traverse Resort and Hagerty Center in town along the TART Trail. These trips definitely constituted one of my favorite parts of summer, she says. The exhilaration and efficiency of a bike ride is unbeatable.
Her interest in social justice issues on campus led her to Bike and Build, which organizes cross-country cycle trips that benefit affordable housing groups such as Habitat for Humanity and Rebuilding Together. Over the past seven years B&B has donated $2,305,345 to numerous affordable housing projects, with funds raised through four million miles of cycling by thousands of young adults.
Perrias own hands-on experience inspired her to take on the ride. I have worked with Habitat for Humanity in Traverse City, Jackson, Detroit and New Orleans. I love construction and I am very passionate about the affordable housing issue, she says.
But half the challenge of cycling cross country is raising $4,000 in order to participate. Of that amount, $2,000 will go toward an affordable housing grant program, $500 goes toward an affordable housing group of the riders choice (Traverse City Habitat for Humanity), and the rest goes toward trip expenses, which Perria expects to pay out of her own pocket.
Shell also have to do some training to get in shape for 3,705 miles of wind-in-your-face cycling from east to west across the nation: My longest trip to date is about 40 miles from Charlevoix to Petoskey and back with my dad over the summer, she says. With Bike and Build, I will be averaging about 75 miles a day, so I have a fair amount of training to do.
Persons interested in making a donation should go to: www.bikeandbuild.org . Click on donate and select Kristine Perria. You can also follow her progress at: www.bikeandbuild.org/rider/3629