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Group of bikers lend a helping hand for affordable housing

Jun. 27, 2012 @ 11:00 PM

HUNTINGTON -- After spending the past 10 days biking from Connecticut to West Virginia, 30 men and women stopped in Huntington to spend the day working at two Habitat for Humanity sites.

The bikers are part of Bike & Build, a nonprofit organization that runs cross-country cycling trips to benefit affordable housing. The group that stopped in Huntington is one of eight traveling throughout the nation.

Each cyclist must raise $4,500, with the group in Huntington having raised $176,000. That pays for their expenses and allows them to give grants for affordable housing projects they visit on their journey.

Jacob Boerema, Kyle Frey and Robert Abrams helped pour the foundation at a home off Baker Road in the East Pea Ridge area. Many others were hanging drywall and doing yard work at a home in the 1700 block of 10th Avenue in Huntington.

Boerema said they've framed a home, poured concrete for a basement, installed siding and painted on their stops so far.

"We're tired, but that's why we're here," he said. "We're all here for the same reason. We all want to raise awareness and money for affordable housing."

The group will head out Thursday and bike 117 miles to Paris, Ky. With temperatures expected to climb well into the 90s, they said they know it will be difficult. But they also know that it's worth it. Boerema took a three-month leave of absence from his job at a consulting firm, while Frey left his employer to take on the summer adventure.

Abrams, from Cleveland, Ohio, just graduated from college and hopes to do some job searching when they get to San Francisco. But Abrams said he's not doing this for himself.

"It's less about me and more about others," he said. "I needed a reason to restore my faith in humanity, and that's happening."



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