Local Resident to Bike Cross Country for a Cause
Taylor Sutherland, from Bellingham, will join Bike & Build on a trip from Jacksonville, Florida to Santa Barbara, Calif. From May to August this year, helping to build homes at 20 different sites along the way.
By Judith Dorato O’Gara
Bellingham native and resident Taylor Sutherland will embark on an affordable home-building journey this month. On May 18th, he’ll join national non-profit organization Bike & Build, on a ride beginning in Jacksonville, Florida and finishing on August 3, 2022, in Santa Barbara, California. Bike & Build is dedicated to engaging young adults in addressing this country’s affordable housing crisis through a unique adventure/service platform. Riders, ages 18-29, participate in cross-country cycling trips to raise money and awareness for the cause and help at build sites along the ride.
“Volunteering, the concept of service and giving back is what drew me to it,” says Sutherland, who learned about the program from a friend he’d met while earning his architectural degree from Roger Williams. “A big part of why I enjoy working as an architect is to make an impact in people’s lives and in the community around me. I love biking, and that, too, is the half of it. Riding my bike across the country is a goal.” Sutherland, who has some experience building with his father’s company Jolicoeur Overhead Doors and often visits construction sites as an architect, adds that the hands-on experience will be valuable to him in his chosen career.
Sutherland has some experience riding on long bike fundraisers. “In the past I’ve participated in some other volunteer rides, specifically with Bike MS, a 2-day, 150-mile ride from Boston to P-town,” he notes. To train, Taylor was riding 50 miles a day by early April, hoping to squeeze in at least one 100-day before he leaves. “We’re required to log 500 miles before we leave,” says Sutherland.
About 25-30 riders will be in Sutherland’s group, hailing from various parts of the country.
“The program I’m doing offers three different trips, Northern, Central Southern and Southern. I’m doing Southern,” he says. In all, the group will have 20 build days, helping to erect affordable housing.
“The cause is really important to me,” says Sutherland. Although he hasn’t focused on residential construction so much in his career, he says, “I’m pretty aware of how important and how much of an issue affordable housing is in our country. Something I’d like to learn more about is being able to advocate, and something that is integral to this program is wherever we’re hosted, we’ll give presentations to people we’re working with on the importance of affordable housing, why it’s important to provide better housing to people of different social classes.”
For more information about Bike & Build, visit https://bikeandbuild.org .