Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

UA grad bikes cross country


Margarett Frisby rode her bike 3,592 miles for 70 days. During that time, she was given only three days off and spent 14 days building houses with Bike & Build, a nonprofit organization that helps build and raise awareness for affordable housing in the United States.

Taking an entire summer to ride bikes across the country, starting in North Carolina and ending in California, is not a top priority on most college students’ minds, but Frisby welcomed the challenge.

Frisby, a 2012 University of Alabama graduate, rode her bike for 10 weeks, with multiple stops on the way, to build homes for communities through Habitat for Humanity and Mountain Housing Opportunity.

“Around this time last year, I started my application process for Bike & Build,” Frisby said. “You have to write a personal statement essay and explain why you would want to do something like this. In November, I got an email that I was accepted for the North Carolina to San Diego route. It was pretty surreal because there are only 250 people who get it each year and each route is 20-30 people.”

Each rider had to raise $4,500 to participate, and after the first $1,000, they were given a bike. Frisby said 90 percent of her group had little experience with bikes.

Frisby sold raffle tickets to different companies to raise money for her trip. At the end of the six months, Frisby had raised right at $5,000.

The trip started on May 22 in Chapel Hill, N.C. The group’s rest days took place in Durango, Colo., at the Grand Canyon, and in Memphis, Tenn. While resting in Frisby’s hometown of Memphis, Tenn., her family threw a party for her crew members.

“I got to see my family and hang out with them,” Frisby said. “My family did a huge barbecue dinner for us. We would go out, and it was really cool to see the towns. A lot of people went whitewater rafting in Durango, Colo., toured the Indian reservations.”

Frisby said throughout the trip, the group stayed at churches and high schools or anywhere that would put them up for free. They did laundry every three days and were required to bring three pairs of everything to be prepared. A van followed the bikers while they rode.

“There were a few places that were awesome,” she said. “Some places put out mattresses for us. We stayed at a convent in North Carolina and all had beds.”

Frisby said her group even crossed five or six mountain ranges throughout the ride, but she said the best parts of the trip were the days spent building and helping out families that needed new homes.

Gina Bargiachi, an old friend of Frisby’s, inspired her to do the ride. Bargiachi completed her Bike & Build ride during summer 2012, and currently, the two friends are preparing for a half-Ironman competition to raise money for Bike & Build’s scholarship fund.

“We swam when we were younger, so naturally I thought she would be great for the ride,” Bargiachi said. “I knew she was the type of person that could do it, so I pushed her, and I’m really glad I did.”

Peterson Welford, a senior majoring in journalism and public relations, said he was not surprised Frisby wanted to participate in this kind of event.

“Margarett is one of my oldest friends, and I thought Bike & Build was a great thing for her,” Welford said. “It allowed her to be a go-getter and help people at the same time. It’s an adventure she got to take but an adventure for a cause.”

Frisby said one of the most rewarding parts of the trip was learning to live simply, helping the less fortunate and creating a bond with the other riders.

For more information on Bike & Build, email Frisby at [email protected] or visit Bike & Build’s website at New rider information is now available on its website.

More to Discover