LAWTON, Okla. (TNN) - A group of people who are biking from Florida to California is staying the night in Lawton on Thursday. They’re with an organization called Bike and Build which pedals across the country to raise money and awareness for the affordable housing cause.
They started pedaling their way across the southern part of the United States back in late May.
"It's weirdly become easier and easier as we go,” rider Greta Tjeltveit said. “I think starting out in the hot and humid weather in Florida has made tapering into Texas and then into the southwest a lot easier."
Even though it has gotten easier, that doesn't mean the group isn't worn out and sore.
"Not only is it physically exhausting but you do have to be on in terms of safety,” Tjeltveit said. “We're constantly calling out if there are cars behind us, if there's debris to the left or the right, potholes, so it's not just sitting back relaxing and biking we're very much just constantly on."
The members we talked to say they're also happy and humbled by what they're getting to do. Rider Casey Kovarik said she’s been surprised by the people they've met along the way.
"We've had so much given to us to support us in this route that makes it possible, and I just didn't know that kind of kindness existed," Kovarik said.
Not only are they biking through part of the U.S., but they’re also stopping around weekly to help build whether it’s through Habitat for Humanity of other groups. Thursday was a unique day for them because they didn’t do either. They talked with people from the Lawton Housing Authority and went through a poverty simulator.
"It was a sad reminder but a good reminder for us of why we are here,” Kovarik said. “On the first round of the simulation, my group ran out of money on the 7th day of the month so we couldn't even complete the simulation because so many things came up."
Tjeltveit said they've seen different ways that people are trying to combat housing problems whether its homelessness or they're recovering from a natural disaster.
"It's inspiring me to think outside the box in how to address housing," Tjeltveit said.
They continue their journey early tomorrow morning as they ride 70 miles. They’re going to take a ride through the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge before stopping in Altus.