Bike & Build and COVID-19

Updated May 29th

Bike & Build is committed to the safety of our riders, leaders, build partners, and host communities during the coronavirus pandemic.

Safety is the crux of our organization – the safety of our riders, leaders, hosts, and partners is of the utmost importance for confidently running our cross-country trips for affordable housing. Because of this, We’ve made the tough decision to cancel our summer trip offerings, including Southern US, Central US, Northern US, and Drift West routes this summer due to the possibility of contracting and spreading COVID-19.

Given the vulnerable communities and populations we work with it is key that Bike & Build is not complicit in the spread of COVID-19, and by making the difficult decision to cancel our cross-country routes we hope to play a role in flattening the curve and mitigating impacts on communities, housing, the health care system, and the pandemic at large. Part of Bike & Build’s mission is inspiring civic engagement, and at this time we all need to step up as leaders and take necessary precautions.

This pandemic will have huge implications for many communities for years to come and will be particularly hard for families and individuals who do not have access to safe, secure, and affordable housing. Bike & Build is committed to continuing the fight for affordable housing and we plan to use this time to bring our hearts together, explore opportunities to engage our current riders and alumni, build capacity, and further our advocacy work.

This is the first time in 18 years that Bike & Build will not be cycling across the country and raising awareness for affordable housing. As a small nonprofit, this pandemic is going to have major impacts on our daily operations. The donations we’ve received thus far will aid us in our continued fight for affordable housing throughout 2020 and beyond. If you’d like to make a donation to continue supporting us through this tumultuous time, you can do so here.

We look forward to resuming full programming as soon as possible.

In spandex,
Bike & Build Staff and Board

This decision undoubtedly leaves 2020 riders with questions about their summer and the preparation they’ve done thus far. We’ve addressed some of those questions here.


I'm signed up to ride this year, can I defer?

Yes! We are extending an open invitation to all enrolled 2020 riders to defer to another year. Your spot will be saved, your fundraising will be credited to your future trip, and office staff will be here to support you every step of the way.

Whether you’d like to hop on a trip next year in 2021, or wait a few years until the time is right, we will save a spot for all riders and let you pick up where you left off whenever you’re ready. If you’d like to defer to another year, email [email protected] If you’re unsure at the moment, we will also reach out when our 2021 applications open to check back in with you.

What is the deadline to defer?

If you know now that you’re all in for 2021, send Erik an email and he’ll make a note on your account and reserve a spot. We’ll also be following up before our first round of enrollment this Fall to check back in. We can guarantee you a 2021 spot if you let us know early, but depending on how fast our 2021 trips fill up, you may have an opportunity to join a route on a first come, first served basis until trips are full.

What if I'm outside the age range next summer?

We are ensuring a spot for all of our 2020 riders on future trips, regardless of age.

What about Pitt Drift?

Pitt Drift (a 2020 regional ride from Pittsburgh to DC) has been postponed to the fall. Originally intended for alumni and their friends & family, we are now opening the trip to 2020 riders. We are excited to run this trip and are working to ensure current Pitt Drift riders can participate by finding a time frame that works for all. More details will be available this summer about Pitt Drift and how to join.

What happens to my fundraising?

If you choose to defer to another year, your fundraising total will be credited to your future trip. If you’d like to ride with us in 2021, we can keep your Classy page active, allowing you to continue fundraising whenever you feel comfortable.

For those who decide not to join us on a future trip, any donations you have received will go towards Bike & Build’s mission as originally intended. The current pandemic situation is drastically impacting communities, businesses large and small, and individuals. Bike & Build relies heavily on our participant fundraising to sustain our programming model, and we will be relying on this fundraising to allow us the stability to continue into 2021.

My ((insert loved one)) sent a check in. Will it be cashed, or voided?

We are handling checks on a case-by-case basis and will reach out to riders individually regarding any checks that are sitting in our mailbox. Our staff has been working remotely for the past 2 weeks, and no checks have been entered in that time. If you’re set on coming back another year, then crediting the check to your account will be a nice boost for your future fundraising. If you’re unsure right now, then we will offer the option to void it.

If I defer, can I keep fundraising? Will I be on the same route with the same leaders?

If you defer you can absolutely keep fundraising at your chosen pace and time – your Classy page will remain open and active.

While we would love for all of our leaders and riders to return in 2021, we know that may not be possible for many reasons. We will work with each rider and leader individually to place them on a trip that works for them in preference and timing in 2021, knowing it may not be the trip they had been on this year.

Why now? The situation is changing so quickly, why not wait a few weeks to make the call?

Seeing our summer rapidly approaching, Bike & Build’s Staff and Board of Directors felt it was important to make a decision as soon as possible. With safety for all being the top priority, we recognized the need to take this evolving situation seriously and make an informed decision quickly to allow our riders, leaders, and partners to have clarity and time needed to tend to their personal lives and loved ones.

In addition to the health and safety of our teams and partners, right now it is difficult to adequately plan and prepare for a Bike & Build trip. Hosts are unable to welcome us with their usual open arms and hospitality, build partners are struggling to know when they can start accepting groups of volunteers again, and fundraising has become a dilemma when so many loved ones face such economic uncertainty. With so many variables left up in the air, we felt it best to postpone our plans to summer 2021.

What does this mean for Bike & Build? Will you be closing?

Over the past few years Bike & Build has worked hard to start the process of diversifying our funding away from rider fundraising. You may have heard about our alumni giving campaign, our Annual Drivetrain, or alumni rides and marathons. Those events and campaigns, along with grants and corporate sponsors have allowed Bike & Build to have a little wiggle room in these uncertain times.

Though we will be diving into our finances a little deeper over the coming weeks, we are confident that Bike & Build can remain stable and open throughout and beyond these uncertain months.

Are there other ways to stay involved even though I can't ride cross country this summer?

In lieu of our summer trips, we’ve developed new programming to engage our current riders, alumni, and greater community in everything Bike & Build. Check out this page to see what we’re doing.

We are all being impacted by this rapidly changing situation, and we encourage all of our current riders and alumni to join together in helping out in your communities during this time.

Do I get to keep my bike?

If you’ve already ordered your bike and received shipping confirmation from Bokoo Bikes, then yes, you will get to keep your bike. 2020 bike ordering has been paused until further notice. Please email [email protected] with any bike related questions.

What about the gear I bought or ordered?

We will be reaching out in the coming weeks to each rider regarding gear. Our 2020 jerseys are set to be delivered Mid-July and we’ll be offering riders the option of having the gear they ordered/bought delivered to them, or to get refunded.

Even though cross country rides won’t be happening this year, you can still look fantastic on your socially distanced bike rides in our 2020 kit and know that your gear purchase will help carry Bike & Build through to 2021.