Pedaling for a Cause
The summer’s rainstorms and blazing heat will not deter junior Mauria Uhlik and senior Peter Cailloux from climbing on their bikes for 4,000-mile cross-country journeys to raise money and bring awareness to two worthy causes.
Uhlik, a psychology major with a concentration in biopsychology, is riding in Habitat for Humanity’s Habitat Bike Challenge (HBC), which seeks to help end housing poverty by raising proceeds to finance the construction of five homes for the Greater New Haven affiliate of Habitat for Humanity. More than 90 college students from schools across the country will raise $4,000 each for Habitat before beginning the nine-week Challenge, which begins May 27.
Of the three bicycle routes the riders may take, Uhlik will travel HBC South, which starts in New Haven and finishes in San Francisco. For four of the six days they spend on the road, the will also work at local Habitat for Humanity construction sites or host an information session at a town meeting or community gathering.
Cailloux, a mechanical engineering major, is participating in Push America’s Journey of Hope, a bicycle challenge that raises funds for and awareness on behalf of people with disabilities. Journey of Hope, sponsored by Pi Kappa Phi, of which Cailloux is a member, is comprised of 80 Pi Kappa Phi brothers with their own fundraising goals.
With three routes (North, South and Trans America), the trek begins on June 11 at San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge, and the teams arrive in Washington, D.C. on August 12. After each day’s ride, the teams will participate in outreach events either performing Kids on the Block puppet shows or making friendship visits.
Previous participation in community service projects and awareness of social issues inspired Uhlik and Cailloux to sign up for the bicycle journeys. Uhlik, who has done volunteer work for people with disabilities and is an active member of UMBC’s Habitat for Humanity club, said the lack of affordable housing prompted her to enter Habitat’s bike challenge.
“Affordable housing should not be out of reach for anyone,” said Uhlik. “No one should have to worry about housing. They should be able to come home and know it’s their home.”
Cailloux has volunteered for many of his fraternity’s service projects such as Give a Push or GAP. Usually as a weekend project, the fraternity brothers travel to local campgrounds, building handicap accessible playgrounds, painting facilities and spending time with the campers.
For more information, visit the Habitat Bike Challenge and Journey of Hope’s Web sites.