The weather is beautiful outside and the bikers are starting to buzz about an early season. This weekend it is supposed to hit 70 and with the chance of rain today it is looking good for most of the salt to be cleared off of the roads.
Hopefully on Sunday a few coworkers and I will be able to get out and get our bike on. We plan on riding at least 40 miles and hopefully make it a full day event.
I’m excited about the first ride on my new bike and the prospect of many rides to come before the summer even starts. There are talks of a couple overnight trips and a full day out to NY and back around via the ferries. There will also possibly be a ride up and over the notch, which I’m nervous to do as last time was horrible.
I have 500 miles to put in in sweat equity before I depart on June 19th, but I don’t see that being much of an issue. Come rain or shine, ill be riding all over VT, NY, and ME before I hit the rest of the country!
Affordable Housing needs are everywhere including Vermont and this year has been more crucial than ever in our home state with the impact of Hurricane Irene.
Families and areas are beginning to recover but the lasting financial impact on some VT families will continue for years to come. Many VTers were left with homes washed away or severely damaged and as we learned from places like the alchemist, insurance doesn’t always cover everything.
To have a roof over your head is something that we often take for granted. Many people do not earn enough money to be able to afford proper housing and minimum wage often does not cover the expenses of proper living conditions. Many VTers are living in unfit conditions and many others are homeless.
Organizations like VT Affordable Housing conducts studies, promotes awareness and provides VTers with the resources they need to have healthy, fit living conditions. This stability will allow all VTers to thrive in times of hardship.
It is organizations and people like this who I am riding for. Help me reach Vancouver by donating even $5 http://bikeandbuild.org/rider/5675
Want to learn more about AH in VT? Check out the VTAH website: http://www.vtaffordablehousing.org/about.php
A few weeks ago I contacted one of my high school teachers from Kennebunk High School with a donation letter. I wrote to him about the impact he had on me, and I’m sure, many other students.
Andy Young knew I had a strong heart and a desire to help others when I was at KHS. He pushed me, not only in my writing, but also into the realization of these strengths by giving me an opportunity to be an ally to a student who maybe didn’t have many people on their side in life.
I will always be grateful for that. What I didn’t expect was the email I got in return. Andy wrote me back saying that he was not the only one who had made an impact. He told me that he remembered me clearly out of the many students he has had over the last nearly seven years. In addition to many other inspiring words and complementary paragraphs lined with updates on his life adventures, there was one part that really stood out. Andy writes, “When our paths crossed at KHS you inspired me far more than you know, and your letter has re-energized me far more than either one of us would imagine is possible.”
I teared up.
You never know how far your actions will go or who will remember them. Even the smallest action can have the greatest impact.
Andy called me last week and we touched base about the trip, my goals and life. I’ll be stopping in on one of his classes this Spring and to check out my writing folder he kept, just in case I came back to visit.
Thank you Andy for your kind words and the donation that helped me reach Minnesota.
So what is the cause and effect of this trip? Am I going just to have some vacation time from work, adventure, bike across country and just have fun? Well yes, that is part of it but there is a whole other part to it that I have yet to really touch on. Affordable Housing: who does it impact, does it really make a difference if there is more affordable housing, why bother?
One girl who I look up to for her amazing personality, overall awesomeness and determination to live her dreams gave me the opportunity to interview her. I’ll be leaving her anonymous for her own privacy but a few years ago she moved from one housing situation to another. I would prefer not to put labels on those individual homes as every home is different for every family. Instead, I ask that you read her account and understand that I am riding because of kids, teens, and families with similar situations, feelings and thoughts. Take it from her, “it’s different for everyone … and to me no one will have the same thing or life.” We can all make a difference in a small or big way and I’m choosing to do it by advocating for affordable housing. If you”d like to support my cause please go here for more info: http://bikeandbuild.org/rider/5675
Me: How old are you? Interviewee: I’m 16, almost 17
M: How old were you when you first lived in your last home? I: I was about 1 year-old
M: Describe your home. I: I can’t really describe it other than not s happy place
M: Describe your room. I: My room was an empty dresser, some books, and a bed on the floor.
M: What was your favorite part of your room? I: My bedroom where I could be alone.
M: Least favorite? I: The rest of the house
M: Did you enjoy having friends over or would you rather go to their houses? I: I would rather be at a friends house because of my Step-Dad and I was scared of what they thought of my house.
M: Did you have a quiet place to do homework? I: I didn’t do homework at home. I did it at school or not at all.
M: What were your dreams? I: To have a loving family and not get in trouble with the law and to go to college. I aspired to have a family after college with a job and a home.
M: Describe the house you live in now? I: Big living room and dining room. My own room and two bathrooms. A loving and caring place.
M: Do you think your life has changed since moving? I: Yes, big time. I feel like I’m my own person and I have a say in my life, the way I want to live it and that I’m loved and with people I love.
I went to my first spinning class today to begin my training to ride nearly 4,000 miles this summer. After getting used to bike and feeling like I was going to fly across the room if I stopped pedaling, I was so excited to start the class.
About 10 minutes in I was so excited to be done and had a feeling that I was either going to die, my life would end or my legs would lose feeling all together. Finally my body warmed up and my super women side came out. I powered over those imaginary hills and sprinted through the straight always.
Overall I felt like I had won a race when I was finished and although I was soaked in sweat and my face was beat red, I went back to work and was on top of the world. Hopefully my body will be ready for more on Thursday!
My spandex addiction is growing. Ive found myself looking forward to the moment school (aka work) gets out and I can don my padded butt, up past my belly button, spandex for spin class. There is nothing more comforting than pulling those babies on and knowing I’ll be rocking them all summer long!
Speaking of gear, I’ve started to compile a few pieces of the gear that I’ll be needing this summer. I figured I might share some of my favorites as I went in an effort to support your spandex addiction… Or just gear in general.
This week I’ll share my number one favorite piece of gear: Darn Tough socks. You will not be seeing any socks but these VT grown, amazing, cozy socks on my feet this summer.
So why Darn Tough? First of all they are wool. Synthetic materials collect and grow bacteria that makes your socks or other synthetic clothing smell. Wool naturally does not grow as much bacteria leaving your Darn Tough socks significantly less smelly. Wool also has a natural ability to wick away moisture and keep your feet dry.
The second reason would be that they come in all sorts of stylish colors so my bike flare with be on point :)
Lastly, Darn Tough is made in Vermont and is guaranteed for life. Blow a hole in one halfway through the trip and I can trade them in no questions asked to any Darn Tough dealer.