Today is a day off the bike. Every so often we trade in our bikes for the chance to volunteer with affordable housing organizations in the areas we are going through. As one of the leaders of the trip, it is partly my job to make sure there is enough work for the riders. This particular build day was a little hectic, and in the end we had a few too many extra hands. We, the four leaders, took the riders to their build sites and met up to do some administrative and logistical work for our upcoming days. We set up shop at a coffee shop right off of the Dartmouth campus.
After contacting and checking in with some of our future hosts, reviewing some of our routes to ensure we had the safest and best routes possible, and getting our to-do lists in order, we then set off in search of what we call donation magic. So, everyone in our group had to raise a minimum of $4500 in order to participate on the ride. That money helps us get across the country and what is left becomes the money our group gets to donate to affordable housing organizations all over the United States. In order to keep our costs low, and to prevent dipping into our precious raised money, we ask local businesses for donations. We had great success here in Lebanon as we were able to pick up day old bread and pastries from a bakery, and we were able to pick up a gift card to a local grocery store. Every little bit helps when we are traveling, so the fact that we wouldn't have to spend our own money on meals for the next couple of days was a big help.
The night ended with an awesome pot luck and the opportunity to meet the community members. We told everyone a little bit about what we do, and we were able to learn a little bit about the area from the community members at our tables. I find it quite special and beneficial to our trip to get the chance to meet with the people whose communities we bike through. It gives us just a bit more connection with each and every place we are lucky enough to pass through.