Changing America, One Bike Ride at a Time

Daniel Sundaram, MCAS ’16, has a big summer ahead of him. Partnering with the Bike and Build program, Sundaram, along with about 25 others, will cycle across the United States while stopping to assist in the construction of affordable homes.

Ahead of the bikers lies the open road and the chance to form friendships in the name of community service. Four thousand miles separate Sundaram’s starting location in New Haven, Conn. from his destination of Half Moon Bay, Calif.

Bike and Build, which has been an active organization since 2003, organizes and supervises cross-country bike trips that incorporate elements of service. Required to raise at least $4,500 prior to the beginning of the trip, riders contribute to and raise money for the program, which in turn supplies the riders with food, planning, and service opportunities for the summer while they ride from coast to coast.

The elements of service provided by Bike and Build are as they sound—riders take an expected 12 days off of biking to work construction on an affordable housing build site. This element gives the riders an opportunity to provide service while they experience great swaths of American countryside.

“I think this trip is the beginning to a commitment to service that I hope to continue for the rest of my life,” Sundaram said. As well as doing Bike and Build, Sundaram is currently applying to Officer Candidate School to be an officer in the US Coast Guard. Sundaram said that his commitment to service began as a student in high school and has continued at Boston College.

“I did Habitat for Humanity in high school, and I figured that this trip is a logical continuation of that,” Sundaram said. “Looking back on my experiences at Boston College, these experiences of teamwork and service is what made college [great] for me.”

A former member of men’s club rowing at BC and an active athlete, Sundaram is no stranger to the teamwork lifestyle. But, the physical aspect of biking more than 4,000 miles is not something that he underestimates.

Sundaram has been spotted by many riding on a trainer outside of Fulton Hall to raise awareness for his ride. He hasn’t exactly been a cyclist for a long time. Sundaram said that the only form of cycling he has really done is riding his bike around the neighborhood as a kid. But, this hasn’t stopped him.

Sundaram has some very long roads ahead of him. Though he is concerned, he knows that he is riding for a cause greater than simply turning over the pedals.

“Like I’ve said earlier, this trip is a beginning to that commitment to service, and I’m really excited to get out on the road,” he said.

Thinking even longer-term, Sundaram said that this trip is a culmination of how he has lived life here at BC.

“I feel like I’ve enjoyed myself and created a great spot and have learned how to succeed here,” he said. “The transition away from it is going to be really weird, but this adventure is going to be a great way to do that and is an affirmation of this lifestyle.”

Featured Image by Julia Hopkins / Heights Editor

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