Bike Riders assist Affordable Housing cause in Port Orchard

The effort to continue building and advertising affordable housing in Port Orchard was recently boosted by a group of cyclists dedicating their time to various projects around the state.

Jordan Crawford is a leader of cyclists from the national nonprofit Bike and Build, which engages young adults on affordable housing efforts through lengthy cycling trips paired with volunteering stops. Crawford said the organization was happy to be back in Kitsap County.

“I want to say it’s been five years that we’ve been staying at the same church,” he said, “and this has been going on much longer than that.”

The cyclists joined with Housing Kitsap to work with eight participants in the Mutual Self-Help Homeownership Program, which allows homeowners to help build others’ houses as well as their own and use that labor as a down payment substitute. The cyclists spent their day building walls, hammering nails and helping construct a playground in the Sherman Ridge community.

“It really depends on what the organization needs from us,” Crawford said. “Politely, we are unskilled laborers. There’s a variety of different things that we can do. We just need a little bit of guidance to get there.”

Port Orchard is not quite the end of the journey for these cyclists, as they will ride around the Puget Sound all the way up to Bellingham. The group began pedaling from Portland, OR in early August and will have covered around 950 miles by the time their trip ends. Such a long journey can bring its share of challenges.

“I think the most taxing part is trying to figure out what to do while riding,” Crawford said. “It’s a lot of chatting, coming up with different things, and it’s crazy how fast it’ll fly by. It’s not necessarily the biking or the building, but moving around so much.”

Crawford also noticed how much the daily intake of food and water has changed throughout the trip. “You’re surprised how much your body can eat,” he said.

Regardless of the work it takes to get from place to place, Crawford said that it’s worth it when the results make each community a better place. “We might only be at one place for a day or two days, or in this case three days, but the impact will last longer.”

Volunteers continue work on one of the houses in the Sherman Ridge community.