Noah Rieger is planning a bike ride this summer. Not just any bike ride, he will be peddling 4,256 miles across the country to help build homes and raise awareness about affordable housing.
Rieger, 24, is from Germany and has been studying abroad at Illinois College this past year. He has been excited about this bike challenge through the nonprofit organization, Bike and Build, since he learned about it a few years ago.
“When my American friend, Jessica, told me about Bike and Build I was immediately hooked,” Rieger says. “I always told myself that if I ever spent a long period of time in the States I would sign up for this ride.”
A couple of years ago, Rieger was looking at college programs that would allow him to study abroad, as well as spend some time in the U.S. When Illinois College offered a unique opportunity to take classes, along with becoming the director of the German House and run the German Cultural Program, he jumped on the chance.
“I could be a student to further my academic career as well as gather valuable leader experience,” Rieger says. “I was given the opportunity to be in charge of an entire house which would give me the chance to teach the IC campus community all about Germany and its culture.”
Once he knew he was coming to the U.S., Bike and Build was always in the back of his mind.
“If I was ever going to do this, now would be my best chance,” Rieger says. “And after I had been here at IC for a few months, I realized how supportive this school is to any student who has big goals and actively pursues them,” Rieger says.
When he applied for the Bike and Build ride last November, he quickly started to spread the word about the cause to his friends at IC and Jacksonville. “People here are so interested in this, and I am looking forward to this fundraising campaign.”
Rieger is trying to raise $4,500 for his trip. All donations go toward the cause and not only does the group raise awareness, they also help build the houses. In fact, a large portion of the proceeds from Rieger’s trip will go toward a new house that the riders will work on in Pueblo, Colo., with Habitat for Humanity.
“I have been working as a carpenter for years in Germany, and I also have a real passion for cycling, triathlons and outdoor adventures,” Rieger says. “I’ve always volunteered, and I enjoy achieving a big goal with a group of motivated peers. Bike and Build combines all that.”
Rieger’s trip will begin May 22, in Charleston, S.C., and a group of 25 to 30 bikers will travel across the country, finishing in Santa Cruz, Calif., in August. Along the way, Rieger says the group will stay in tents, churches, schools and community centers.
Over the past 10 seasons, according to their website, Bike and Build has contributed more than $4.5 million to housing groups to fund projects planned and executed by these young adults who participate in this cause. More than $500,000 was donated in the summer of 2013, and Bike and Build hopes to increase this contribution level for this coming summer..
To learn more about Rieger, visit his Bike and Build Web page
where you can support his efforts, as well as track his progress throughout his bike trip.
About Bike and Build
Bike and Build, a nonprofit organization, organizes cross-country cycling trips to benefit affordable housing projects. Bike and Build combines adventure and athletic challenges with service, dedication and civic engagement. Young adults serve as active agents and ambassadors for affordable housing efforts. Bike and Build challenges them to test their limits and impact the housing landscape by creating new homes with Habitat for Humanity for people in need.
About Illinois College
Founded in 1829, Illinois College is a residential liberal arts college fostering academic excellence rooted in opportunities for experiential learning while preparing students for lifelong success. The college is located in Jacksonville, Ill. With an enrollment of more than 1,000 students, the college offers over 50 undergraduate programs and a Master of Arts in Education degree program. In 1932 the society of Phi Beta Kappa established a chapter at Illinois College, and it remains one of only 11 in the state.
Illinois College is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools. Visit www.ic.edu or call 217-245-3149 for more information.