Habitat for Humanity of the Indian Wells Valley
Ridgecrest, California

Bike and Build Supports Habitat for Humanity IWV

About Bike & Build

Bike & Build is a national non-profit organization that works to provide affordable housing and empowers young adults for a lifetime of service and civic engagement. Each year a group of participants bikes across the country, making stops in many cities and towns where they temporarily trade their bikes for hammers and work on the construction of an affordable home with a local housing organization. Twenty- three members of the group stopped in Ridgecrest on July 23, 24, and 25 and helped with local Habitat for Humanity of the IWV affordable housing projects. In the pictures, the Bike and Build members are shown cleaning up the local fairgrounds.

Habitat for Humanity sponsored the Bike & Build in 2014. The Ridgecrest United Methodist Church provided a place to stay. Immanuel Baptist Church provided the food during their stay.

Daily Independent Article by City Reporter Jessica Weston

If the Desert Empire Fairgrounds are looking spiffier than usual lately, a group called Bike and Build are probably the ones to thank.

Bike and Build, a national organization that supports affordable housing, spent Thursday doing maintenance work at the fairgrounds at the invitation of Habitat for Humanity of the Indian Wells Valley.

According to Habitat's Duke Martin, this is the fourth year Bike and Build has helped out with projects around town and the fourth year he has coordinated the effort. Habitat for Humanity is one of many organizations Bike and Build works with as they bike their way across the country during the summer to work on affordable housing projects.

Martin said that roughly 32 Bike and Build team members showed up at the fairgrounds Thursday morning and he put them to work. They did yard work and maintenance, "the smaller stuff", Martin said. "The hand-raking, the weed-whacking. The stuff they really haven't been able to do at the fairgrounds."

The team is scheduled to depart for Northern California Friday.

Martin said that in previous years, people from the organization have also worked on housing and at the Inyokern Airport.

Bike and Build team members give different reasons for their participation in the program, but adventure and service rank high on the list.

Gaurang Garg, who is from Detroit and said he's starting graduate school in September, said he wanted something mentally and physically challenging.

"I've never been west of New Orleans. I'm seeing parts of the country I've never seen before and I'm seeing it in ways I've never seen it," he said.

"Affordable housing gets at a root cause of a lot of public health issues," said Kirstin Heinrich from Massachusetts. She said the experience has given her "a positive view of the U.S., new hope for all of us.

"You meet a lot of people on the road, it gets you out of those bubbles and boxes."

Marlee Henninge from Florida apparently agrees. "We rolled in yesterday and we'll roll out tomorrow," she said. Henninge said she is studying geography at the University of Florida and became involved with Bike and Build because "it's a good mixture between adventure and giving back. I'm kind of using my summer for good and it's kind of out of the box."

Laura Schaeffer from Portland, Ore. said that she is studying occupational therapy."I'm young so I wanted to experience and see the world and the country, to be an inspiration to my friends and family. And it's a challenge physically and mentally." "I wanted to bike across America," said Jamie Solomon. Solomon said she is from Oakland, a Stanford graduate, and the only team member from California. "I'm bringing a bunch of kids to my house after," she said.

Virtually every member of the team mentioned the idea of service and of giving back.

Whatever their reasons for being here, however, Desert Empire Fairgrounds General Manager Mike Leming said he appreciates their efforts. "It helps us out a lot," he said. "This is a big deal. This helps us continue to make the fairgrounds look presentable."

For more information on Bike and Build, see