When Stern freshman Lydia Guo received her official bike from Bike & Build, she knew her summer journey had begun.
This June, Guo is biking across the United States with Bike & Build, a nonprofit group that coordinates bike trips for young adults who want to raise funds for affordable housing projects. In anticipation of the trip, Guo started a blog, aptly titled “Let’s Guo.” She launched the blog in January to jump start fundraising for her 10-week cycling trip, a journey that will take her from Providence, R.I., to Half Moon Bay, Calif. from June 7 through Aug. 20. Along the way, Guo and her fellow cyclists will help local housing organizations construct affordable homes.
“I’ve always wanted to explore the country and meet people that I wouldn’t have ever met otherwise living in Palo Alto, Calif., my hometown, or in New York City,” Guo said. “My main goal is to become more familiar with the common American demographic and give back to communities in a scale that I’ve never done before.”
To date, Guo has raised $3,600 by reaching out to friends and family members as well as by going door-to-door in her hometown. As the semester continues, she will update her blog with fundraising landmarks and Bike & Build happenings. Once Guo embarks on her journey, she will document her travels and the people she meets, though she hopes to leave a lasting presence in the blogging sphere even after her trip ends.
“I purposely chose the name ‘Let’s Guo’ rather than something more specific to Bike & Build with the intention of being able to blog more about my life in the future after Bike & Build [ends],” Guo said.
Guo was inspired to get involved with Bike & Build after hearing about the biking trip that her RA, Steinhardt junior Kate Weigel, made in 2011 with the organization.
“I’ve been on the adventure she’s about to embark on, so I know that it will truly change her life,” Weigel said. “Lydia is exactly the type of person who is perfect for Bike & Build. She is resourceful, spirited and has a truly good heart.”
Rutgers University 2010 graduate Ezra Rufino, who has a biking blog of his own, was moved by a recent post in which Guo wrote about how excited she was when she received and assembled her official bike.
“She writes in a very personal way that I really enjoy,” Rufino said. “I had never heard of Bike & Build, and now I am even thinking of giving it a try.”
Follow Guo’s fundraising efforts and her travels at http://letsguo.wordpress.com/about/.
A version of this article appeared in the Wednesday, Feb. 20 print edition. Deborah Lubanga is a contributing writer. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.