MU
Oak Leaves



September 16, 2016

Biking 2

David Jones, Biking for Peace cofounder, and Michael Himlie, Senior Peace Studies Major
Photo courtesy of Michael Himlie

 


Spartans Bike to Build Houses, to Promote Peace

Kelleen Cullison

Two members of the Manchester community cycled across the country this summer, taking with them Manchester’s trademark spirit of service. Jordan Redding, a full time Spartan athletic trainer, joined up with organization Bike-and-Build, while senior Michael Himlie paved his own path, cofounding and cycling with Biking for Peace. 

Redding, a 2013 Manchester graduate, had always wanted to bike across the country. With Bike-and-Build, she could take the trip she had dreamed of and be part of a cause she respected. Bike-and-Build riders cycle both to take part in building affordable housing projects and to raise awareness about their cause. “We had to do team discussions before we left on our trip,” Redding said, “so I got really educated  about affordable housing. I had no idea it was such a big issue.” 

According to the organization’s website, a minimum-wage worker would have to work a physically impossible 86 hours a week to afford a fair-market apartment, which is estimated to cost $806 a month to rent. 

Bike-and-Build offers several different routes through the United States. Redding and her team of 30 cycled the C2C route, a tough expedition from New Haven, CT through the heartland of the United States, ending in Half Moon Bay, CA 80 days later. Their trip was spent almost constantly cycling, aside from meals and nights spent with generous parishioners of churches and a total of 16 days spent volunteering. Before the end of Redding’s trip, she’d volunteered with Youth Build in Louisville, KY, Habitat for Humanity and in women’s shelters throughout the country. 

Redding, and others who decide they want to cycle with Bike-and-Build, cycle for and commit to addressing affordable housing. In addition to the obligation to raise $4,500 dollars for donation and biking the total of 500 miles, applicants must also complete 10 volunteer hours on an affordable housing project to qualify for a trip.  

Michael Himlie, a senior in the Peace Studies department, spent his summer cycling with his organization, Biking for Peace. He and cofounder David Jones pledged to cycle 100 miles a day for 50 days, in all 50 states, in order to raise funds and awareness for peacemaking organizations. 

Raised in the Church of the Brethren, Himlie is a firm believer in nonviolent direct action. His organization's goal was to raise $100,000 for Christian Peacemaker Teams, a group that partners with nonviolent movements throughout the world. Himlie’s desire to support their cause stems from a personal experience with the organization on an international trip. “When I went on a delegation with them to Palestine and observed with every sense of my body the occupation and apartheid present there, any effort towards a bike trip that I would embark on would be minute compared to the strength of the oppressed Palestinians and Bedouins in the West Bank and Gaza,” Himlie said.   

Despite his dismissal of his efforts, Himlie’s trip preparations were anything but easy. Throughout the 2016 spring semester, his resistance training was extensive and time consuming. “There were some soggy homework assignments,” he said. But, in the end, he was prepared for the considerable ride. 

Himlie and his partner Jones began their trip at midnight in the state of Hawaii on May 14, where they biked the same route as participants in the Ironman ultra-triathlon, before flying out to California and continuing on.  

Both Himlie and Redding spoke fondly of their experiences, and of the sort of family and friends they made along the way. 

If you’re interested in learning more about Bike-and-Build or Biking for Peace, check out their respective websites for more information: http://classic.bikeandbuild.org/cms/ and bikingforpeace.org.