Cyclists biking for a cause pass through Craig | CraigDailyPress.com

Cyclists biking for a cause pass through Craig

Erin Fenner

A group of 33 cyclists passed through Craig on their trip across the country to help build affordable housing and raise money for the cause. Pictured from left are Joey Martin, Jay Epelman, Amy Zhou, Athena Jones and Connor O'Brien.

— A team of 33 cyclists zipped through Craig on Monday on their trek across the country to raise money and help build affordable housing.

They are part of the organization called Bike and Build, which supports affordable housing projects such as Habitat for Humanity.

"I personally always wanted to bike across the country," said participant Athena Jones, but Bike and Build gave her a cause to ride behind.

Jones said she wanted to give back after living through Hurricane Sandy. She grew up on the Jersey shoreline and was hit hard by the storm, but her neighbors were hit even harder, she said.

"For people who lived a little bit closer to the beach than I did, it was devastating," Jones said. "That was kind of personal to me."

The team of cyclists rides across the country to raise awareness, but it also helps with Habitat for Humanity efforts in 10 cities. It provides a good opportunity to young people, just out of college from all across the country, who want to give back.

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"All the riders are college-aged or recent graduates," cyclist Joey Martin said.

Each participant is required to earn at least $4,500 before they take off on their journey. Part of the funds covers the cost of the trip, but most goes back to affordable housing, cyclist Amy Zhou said.

Zhou was inspired to get on her bike and raise money because housing is such a pressing issue, she said, noting that her experience living in Manhattan affected her perspective on affordable housing.

"You see a lot of substandard conditions there," Zhou said. The way to fix it is by "creating more affordable houses."

The group camped out in Maybell on Monday night and then headed out to its next city, Idaho Falls, Idaho. The cyclists will wrap up their journey in Cannon Beach, Oregon.

Contact Erin Fenner at 970-875-1794 or efenner@CraigDailyPress.com.