Local prepares to bike for affordable housing

Megan Danielson, a 2007 CVU graduate, bikes in the San Francisco area.

On June 19, Shelburne native Megan Danielson, will begin a cross-country bike trip to benefit affordable housing efforts. Recently accepted on the trip for Bike & Build, Danielson’s first order of business after college graduation from the University of San Francisco in May is to raise $4,500 to participate on the 3,863-mile fundraising journey.

With the help and support of family and friends, Danielson is well on her way. A quick look at her Bike & Build website, http://bikeandbuild.org/rider/6085, informs that she has raised $2,215 to date. And why is Danielson raising money for Bike & Build? The answer is simple. “I have always wanted to ride across the country but I never want to ‘just ride across the country.’ To be more specific, I want to leave a mark on the places I go. I want to help improve the lives of the communities that I pedal through. After doing some research, I believe that working with affordable housing would provide me with that opportunity,” she explained. “My hope for this trip is that by helping to provide affordable housing to those in need that we would be forging the path to building new communities, new relationships, and new beginnings for others.”

Danielson’s cross-country trip departs Portland, Maine on June 19 and arrives in Santa Barbara, Calif. on Aug. 26. While on the road, the Bike & Build group of 33 will meet with community members in towns they travel through to explain the reason for the trip, affordable housing issues, and help residents become involved in efforts to alleviate the problem. But the coup-de-gras for Danielson was that there will also be several days where the group will trade their bikes for hammers and help construct affordable homes with local affordable housing organizations such as Rebuilding Together and Habitat for Humanity.

Danielson’s journey with bicycling has been an interesting one. “When I was in fifth grade the teachers at the Shelburne Community School motivated me to enter a read-to-ride contest sponsored by a local bike shop. The rules of the contest were simple, read a book and enter your name in the raffle. The more books you read, the more likely you were to win. So, in the summer before sixth grade I read 25 books and ended up winning a sweet new road bike,” she began. “The bicycle inspired me and my dad to start taking long bike trips together. We started with 25 miles at a time, exploring different routes in New England. As the years went by and I grew up a little, we began to take longer trips and started experimenting with over-night camping. The long over-night trips were always so adventurous and fun! Even now, years later, my dad and I still try and take at least one long trip a summer,” she shared.

In a few short months Danielson will move on to the next stage of her life, whatever that may be. For now she needs your support to achieve her summer goals. “I have put a lot of work and thought into this summer. I am very excited to take an active role in affordable housing efforts and hope that my story will inspire others to donate, bike, or participate in community service programs like Bike & Build.”

For more information about Bike & Build or to make a tax-deductible donation visit http://bikeandbuild.org.

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