The lazy days of summer will have no effect on JoBeth Minniear.

The Frederick 25-year-old will doing an 80-day bike trip from Jacksonville, Fla. to Monterey, Calif., for Bike and Build, a nonprofit dedicated to pedaling for low-cost housing. During the bike trip, Minniear’s group of cyclists, mostly people in their 20s, will be making stops to help build at affordable housing sites.

“We’ll ride for four to five days, then stop for two days and help build,” she said.

Her trip will begin May 16 and end August 3, and she still has $1,000 to raise toward her goal of $4,500. The money goes to homebuilding organizations throughout the country to underwrite projects planned and carried out by young people ages 18-25.

She learned about the program through her best friend, and completed a two-week ride from Richmond to Philadelphia last year. Ride leaders plan several homebuilding stops in advance with local organizations.

“I just loved it. It was amazing,” Minniear said.

She said the majority of the ride will be on country roads, bike trails or “roads that have a wide shoulder.” She said her upcoming trip will be just over 4,000 miles, with about 70 to 75 miles of riding a day.

“I try to think of it as day-to-day miles, not the whole thing,” she said with a laugh.

Minniear said her motivation for signing up for this particular trip is because it is longer than last year’s, and because her group will spend five days doing house-building in New Orleans.

“I’m really excited to work on the Hurricane Katrina aftermath,” she said.

The trip will also take riders through the Grand Canyon, the Gulf Coast, Dallas and near Las Vegas, Minniear said. She said they will stay in community centers and churches, and occasionally camp out.

“The main thing about the trip is to get as much money to the cause, which is why we don’t stay in hotels,” she said.

Many of the meals are donated from large restaurant chains, including Chipotle. Others are pot-luck meals provided by hosts.

Minniear works as a quality assurance engineer with Bechtel, and she is applying for a leave of absence, along with using leave time she has already saved. She hasn’t had any second thoughts about choosing the longer trip as opposed to last year’s two-week one.

“I felt like it was a little too short — OK, a lot too short,” she said.

She said the longer trip appealed to her because of the connections she made with homebuilders, homeowners and fellow riders.

“Doing it for the whole summer can only be better,” Minniear said.

Justin Villere, the director of operations and outreach with Bike and Build, said the program was aimed at riders from ages 18 to 25. Ride leaders may be as old as 28. The program’s goal is to get young adults to commit to a lifetime of service.

“It’s not really about having a cycling background but a focus for service and a passion for adventure,” Villere said. “The ability to grow their skills on a trip is something we’re really hoping to foster.”

Each ride group is followed by a support van. If a rider needs a break, the van is available. So far, 300 riders have signed up for Bike and Build rides for the upcoming summer.

“Our main goal is making sure all riders get across safely and have a solid time while they do it,” Villere said.

Minniear has been raising the $4,500 through bake sales in the common area at her office. At first, the prospect of raising the needed funding for the program made her more anxious than the cycling component. Her fears have recently been eased, since she is already $3,500 toward her goal.

“My friends and family are amazing, even strangers,” she said. “I have been flabbergasted by people’s generosity.”

When it comes to preparing physically, Minniear said she hurt her ankle in January so she hasn’t been able to train too much so far. She said she recently started riding her bike again, and plans to go on short rides during weekday evenings and longer rides during weekends. She said Bike and Build requires its cyclists to ride at least 500 training miles before the trip.

“This adventure is going to be worth it,” she said.

Follow Laura Dukes on Twitter: @LauraDukesFNP

To learn more about Bike and Build or to donate to JoBeth Minniear's ride, go to

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it clean. No vulgar, racist, sexist or sexually-oriented language.
Engage ideas. This forum is for the exchange of ideas, not personal attacks or ad hominem criticisms.
Be civil. Don't threaten. Don't lie. Don't bait. Don't degrade others.
No trolling. Stay on topic.
No spamming. This is not the place to sell miracle cures.
No deceptive names. Apparently misleading usernames are not allowed.
Say it once. No repetitive posts, please.
Help us. Use the 'Report' link for abusive posts.

Thank you for reading!

Please log in, or sign up for a new account and purchase a subscription to read or post comments.