“It’s been crazy,” Kuykendall said by phone from Idaho. “I expected it to be certain things and it’s been a lot of different things. It’s been a great growing experience personally, and I have learned a lot about the affordable housing problem in America.”
Kuykendall first learned of Bike & Build through his mother’s job with the health and wellness company Boulder Brands, which is a sponsor for the charity.The program has been around for 11 years and in 2011, the daughter of Boulder Brands’ CEO took part in one of the cycling trips.
“They had sent something out with the employees asking if anyone’s children wanted to take part in the program,” Kuykendall said. “I knew I wanted to do it.”
After being rejected the first year for being too young, Kuykendall embarked on the long process to insure he’d be part of this year’s ride.
The preparation for the trip was far from as simple as signing up and hopping on a bike.
“First, you had to fill out a long application and were put into a lottery to see which of the routes you would take part in,” he said. “There were a lot of doctors’ appointments and you had to do 500 miles of training.”
Each cyclist is also required to raise $4,500, a portion of which covers expenses and the remainder is donated to Bike & Build.
Kuykendall’s team raised more than $150,000, and so far the program has donated $4 million.
An average day for Kuykendall and crew begins between 4 and 6 a.m. and consists of approximately nine hours of cycling.
“We wake up, eat breakfast and have a half-hour to pack our bag and get it to the support van,” he said. “We hit the road and we are on our own to do what we want as long as we get to our next location by 4 p.m.