By JIM MISUNAS
HUDSON — After riding bicycles mile after mile, Bike and Build participants discovered the perfect way to relax — demolition work.
The Bike and Build cyclists on a 3,593-mile cross-country journey enjoyed every second tearing down the interior of a property at 207 Pleasant in Hudson. They punched holes in walls and safely created new space in the vacant house.
When remodeled, the $10,000 property will be offered for rent or rent-to-own, thereby increasing availability of modernized affordable housing, particularly for a young Stafford County family. A $7,500 grant from Bike and Build will purchase materials for construction and rehabilitation.
The cyclists’ work valued at several thousand dollars was highlighted by interior demolition work, in addition to painting the garage and landscaping work.
Route leader Benjamin Hinton from Wake Forest, N.C. looked forward to the demolition work since it was announced Monday night.
“I could see people get pretty wide-eyed,” he said. “If you have any frustrations, this is a perfect way to work it out. This has been a blast. This will be one of those highlight memories that we can all share.”
Hinton graduated from North Carolina State with a degree in international relations and sustainable development.
“I’ve never done any demolition,” he said. “This has been exciting because this house has character. It’s been fun to tear things apart.”
University of Virginia graduate Michael Maynard from Wilmington, N.C. has done some demolition work as a summertime job. So far, Bike and Build has painted, shingled and performed yard work.
“I’m pretty glad I got placed on this team,” Maynard said. “This is my favorite job by far. You’re permitted to do something that you’re not allowed to do as a kid.”
He plans to work in real estate development and wants to continue work as a volunteer.
“I want to stay involved with charity outreach and be involved with Habitat for Humanity,” he said. “I wanted this experience. I’ve enjoyed seeing different communities along the way.”
University of Pittsburgh student Carolyn Michaels from Palos Verdes, Calif. proved the women could be just as destructive as the guys. Michaels, a nursing student, was especially proud when she busted up a wall.
“I loved it. This is my favorite thing to do,” she said. “I did some demo work at the Chapel Hill location. I jumped on this job.”
Michaels, a cyclist with a dancing background, said she has enjoyed every minute of the Bike and Build 10-week tour. She joined her friend Anna Allende on the journey.
“It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity,” she said. “When we stop on a work day, it’s always a great change of pace. It’s cool because we see a place from the ground up. They’ll be starting with a vacant house with new space.”
Carolyn Dunn, the director for Stafford County Economic Development, said she appreciated the volunteer effort.
‘It’s been so much fun seeing them work,” she said. “Seeing their energy picks you up and renews your energy.”
Dunn said the volunteers exhibited their landscaping skill when they created a border with stepping stones that were reshaped and reworked.
“We definitely benefited from their expertise in landscaping,” she said. “They have used the rocks in a creative way to create a border.”
Crews in Stafford painted a downtown Stafford storefront owned by the Stafford Chamber of Commerce and painted and repaired bleachers at the Stafford County Fairgrounds.
The day was scheduled to wind down with a wheat harvest tour and a visit to the Stafford County Flour Mill, one of the last independent flour mills remaining in the U.S.
The 29 cyclists are traveling 3,593 miles from Nags Head, N.C. to San Diego, Calif. Bike and Build has contributed more than $4.5 million to housing groups over the past 10 years.
Bike and Build raises funds and organizes cross-country bicycle rides to support affordable housing efforts. The organization offers eight cross-country biking trips each summer.