In a few months, Alan Guagliardo will ride a Giant bicycle across the United States.
But the trek isn't just for exploratory purposes. The University of South Florida student will help build houses along the way through "Bike & Build," a nonprofit organization that uses cross-country cycling trips to create affordable housing.
The itinerary will take Guagliardo, 21, to Providence, R.I. via airplane in early June. Then, he'll bike west to Seattle before returning to Tampa Bay in August.
On the "Bike & Build" event: "It's a nonprofit organization. They do these routes every year. They are during the summer. They do a lot of work with Habitat (for Humanity) and Building America. The route I'm doing starts in Providence, Rhode Island. We will have orientation there. We'll bike ride for five or six days and then build. We’ll stay in churches and community centers. We get dinner and our sleeping arrangements from the community."
How he learned about "Bike & Build": "I found a blog about someone who did it this past summer. As soon as I read it, I said, 'This is for me.' I want to do it. November is when the application process began."
On why it's important to participate in the trek: "I really enjoy biking. I have done several charity rides in the past, like 100-mile rides for the American Diabetes Association. I like to use a hobby of mine to benefit other people. I am at a point in my life where I can take off 10 weeks and go and build houses. I've seen how bad the homeless population can get. I am a college student, so I understand that affordable housing is important."
What he hopes to gain from the experience: "I think I will really learn a lot about myself. I don’t know what I’ll learn, but I think I’ll develop a little character along the way."