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Cyclists brave Death Valley in July to advocate for affordable housing




Bike and Build cyclist Sean Triser celebrates after entering California. Photo Credit: Marlee Dunbar
Bike and Build cyclist Sean Triser celebrates after entering California. Photo Credit: Marlee Dunbar
Bike and Build cyclist Sean Triser celebrates after entering California. Photo Credit: Marlee Dunbar
Marlee Dunbar around 6 a.m. shortly after entering California. The group was on the road by 4 a.m. in order to beat the days heat, which rose to 117 degrees. Photo Credit: Marlee Dunbar
Bike and Build cyclist Sean Triser celebrates after entering California. Photo Credit: Marlee Dunbar
Bike and Build has two support vans that drive along the cyclists with supplies and food so the riders don't have to carry it on their bikes. The group's trailer shown here at Jacob Lake, AZ. Photo Credit: Marlee Dunbar
Bike and Build cyclist Sean Triser celebrates after entering California. Photo Credit: Marlee Dunbar
The group enters California around 6.a.m. on the way to Furnance Creek, CA. Photo Credit: Marlee Dunbar
Bike and Build cyclist Sean Triser celebrates after entering California. Photo Credit: Marlee Dunbar
The whole group taking a break from cycling at Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, TX. Photo Credit: Marlee Dunbar
Bike and Build cyclist Sean Triser celebrates after entering California. Photo Credit: Marlee Dunbar
Marlee Dunbar (orange helmet) on the way to Mosquero, NM. Photo Credit: Marlee Dunbar
Bike and Build cyclist Sean Triser celebrates after entering California. Photo Credit: Marlee Dunbar
Marlee Dunbar in the orange helmet, on the way to Durango, CO. Photo Credit: Marlee Dunbar
Bike and Build cyclist Sean Triser celebrates after entering California. Photo Credit: Marlee Dunbar
A Bike and Build rider is congratulated after they ride up a difficult hill. Photo Credit: Marlee Dunbar


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It's been a blazing hot summer but, despite the heat, the organization Bike and Build is pressing on in their efforts to build affordable housing.  

This non-profit sends riders across the country to raise awareness and money to help the cause. They even stop along the way to build affordable housing. Since its founding, Bike and Build has had over 3,500 riders who’ve spent 200,000 hours building housing across the country. They've also raised over 6.2 million dollars. 

They started in Jacksonville, Florida in May and this past weekend, they crossed into Southern California. Marlee Dunbar is in her second year of making the trek and she's one of this year’s trip leaders. Their three-month journey will end in two weeks in Monterrey, California. Take Two talked with her as the group took a break from the heat in Death Valley National Park Visitor Center.

Right now it’s July in Death Valley and it’s 117 degrees out. Do you ride during the day?

Most of the time we ride during the day. This morning was a special morning because we were riding through Death Valley, so we actually woke up at 3 a.m. this morning and were on the road ... and we only had about 60 miles to ride today, so most of it was downhill so we all made it by 10 a.m.

You guys are out on the road for three months straight, where are you sleeping and where are you showering? Are you having to relaying on the kindness of strangers?

Yes, we have been blown away by the generosity of all our hosts. So we partner with a lot of churches and community centers along the way ... they house us and feed us and find a place for us to shower, whether that’s in their church at the local community center, or just a hose outside. We’re happy with anything.

It’s an endless cycle of cycling and building, aren’t you tired? 

You have a lot of adrenaline, a lot of great people to keep you pumped up along the way, a lot of naps. But yeah, [we’re] definitely tired but it’s definitely worth it; seeing the country and being able to spread the word about affordable housing and its need is just something that we really enjoy, so it’s worth it. And we can sleep in two weeks. 

To listen to the full interview, please click on the blue audio player above