Local Cazenovians to bike across U.S. and build houses along the way

— While bicycling to Sno-Top in Manlius last year, two Cazenovia natives had a crazy idea that they should bike across the U.S. Now, Ellen Costello and Pierce Brothers are raising money to allow them to participate in Bike and Build, a non-profit group that organizes cross-country bicycle trips which benefit affordable housing groups.

Costello and Brothers, if they both complete the pre-ride qualifications, will bicycle from Providence, R.I. to Seattle, Wash., pedaling up to 100 miles per day, while they stop at 11 different locations along the route to participate in building projects through groups such as Habitat for Humanity.

“The idea is just to spread awareness; 650,000 people in the U.S. are homeless,” Brothers said. “Housing should not be something people struggle to afford, it should be something they just have.”

“We were lucky to have grown up in such a nice place [as Cazenovia] and are looking to give back to others living in our country,” said Costello, who, along with Brothers, is a graduate of the 2009 class of Cazenovia High School.

In order for Brothers and Costello to participate in Bike and Build, they both must have biked 500 miles, participated in at least 10 hours of community service and raised $4,500 before to two-and-a-half-month trip begins on June 16.

If potential riders do not raise at least $4,500, what they have raised will be still donated to Bike and Build, although they will not be allowed to participate in the ride.

So far, just from asking family and friends for donations, Costello has raised $2,000 and Brothers has raised $1,600. With the trip only three months away, the duo is now seeking public help in their fundraising.

“Any amount really helps — even a dollar or two,” Brothers said.

For more information, people can email Costello at eelcostello@gmail.com or Brothers at prbrothers3@gmail.com.

Information about the organization and how to donate can be found online at bikeandbuild.org. To donate to Ellen Costello or Pierce Brothers, click on the “donate” tab and scroll down to their name.

Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican. He can be reached at editor@cazenoviarepublican.com.

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