Saturday, February 17, 2018
Sports

Tampa Prep grad begins 4,000-mile journey advocating affordable housing

TAMPA — Taylor Burdge has embarked on the trip of her young lifetime.

The 2012 Tampa Prep graduate, whom the Tampa Bay Times profiled last month, has started her cross country journey by bike, pedaling to help raise awareness of affordable housing with a nonprofit called Bike and Build.

Burdge and 32 other 18- to 25-year-olds left Thursday from Portland, Maine, en route to Santa Barbara, Calif. The trip will take 75 days and cover nearly 4,000 miles.

The group will stop every fourth day or so to assist in building affordable houses in various communities across the nation.

"It's been absolutely amazing so far," said Burdge, who arrived in Maine last week for orientation. "I've met some great people so far that I can already tell are going to be friends for life."

The young adults dipped their back tires in the Atlantic Ocean to begin the journey, and will finish by putting their front tires in the Pacific Ocean upon completion of the trip. The group will rely on churches, schools and families for housing and food along the way.

Burdge, who recently finished sixth in the single scull at the U.S. Rowing Youth National Championships in Tennessee, will continue her rowing career at Stanford. But in between, the Times will periodically follow along with Burdge's journey in her own words.

Kindness on a difficult day

Today (Thursday) was a ridiculously crazy day. I started out with Ryan, Kristen S, and Kristen G at a good clip through busy roads and across the New Hampshire border.

When we reached Durham, N.H., we stopped and enjoyed a DM (Donation Magic) smoothie at a local coffee shop. We then cruised into lunch and were the first to arrive. It was an absurdly hot day, and it only got hotter.

After lunch, I road with Josh because we both wanted to keep a similar speed. After climbing up a hill, we saw some other riders who had left lunch earlier, enjoying the shade in front of what can only be described as one of the most amazingly beautiful farm houses I've ever seen. They had beautiful horses and a most lovely garden — and a pool!

There we were, five riders on a cross country journey sitting in front of paradise. After struggling internally, I finally got the guts to knock and see if by any chance we could use their pool. The resident could not have been nicer. She welcomed us (with) a pitcher of cold (water) and we hopped into the most refreshing pool.

We were all revitalized. Eventually, all 33 of us took advantage of her kind hospitality. After about 45 minutes, I was ready to hit the road but most of my group wanted to stay, so I headed out solo. With 15 miles to go after I crossed the Massachusetts border, I met up with Kegan and Nick, and we found a great swimming hole to cool off.

By now, we were really feeling miserable. The rest of the ride was rough. We were on a busy road, it was over 100 degrees, I got a flat tire and my speedometer broke. But at last, at 5:30 p.m., we reached the school, the first to arrive.

Unfortunately, most groups got lost and the van had to go and pick up several riders. It was a hard day but we were rewarded when the Webber family opened up their home for us with a thanksgiving feast (turkey, stuffing, cranberry relish, mash potatoes).

The Webbers are an important family to the Bike and Build community as their son was one of the first program directors before he passed away. They could not have been more kind to all of us, and after such a difficult day, it was just what we needed.

We then went back to the Pike school where I fell fast asleep in the library amid talk with Caroline, Ryan, and Lauren.

To follow along with Taylor Burdge on her journey, visit taylorbikes.wordpress.com.

Comments
For Rays Wilson Ramos, horrors of 2011 kidnapping remain

For Rays Wilson Ramos, horrors of 2011 kidnapping remain

PORT CHARLOTTE – Lying on the floor of a Venezuelan mountain hideout as his kidnappers and would-be rescuers exchanged gunfire for more than five minutes, Wilson Ramos, understandably, feared the worst. "Everything I was thinking in that momen...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Denard Span happy to be with Rays now, would be happier March 29

Denard Span happy to be with Rays now, would be happier March 29

PORT CHARLOTTE – OF Denard Span was truly happy to be here in Rays camp on Saturday.But the Tampa product said he'll be much happier – and more relaxed – if he actually makes it to the regular season with his hometown team.The Rays ...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Emphasis on ‘D’ continues at Lightning face Devils

Emphasis on ‘D’ continues at Lightning face Devils

The emphasis was on defense during Friday's practice and today's morning skate as the Lightning look to reduce not only the number of shots on goal allowed but also scoring chances.It allowed 39 in Thursday's win against the Red Wings and 33 in Thurs...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Tom Jones’ Two Cents guide to spring training

Tom Jones’ Two Cents guide to spring training

Times columnist Tom Jones give his Two Cents guide to spring training.Best place to watch a gameBradenton's LECOM Park, although if you're a true Floridian and spring training aficionado, you still and will always refer to it as McKechnie Field. The ...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Live from Port Charlotte: Rays to continue parade of arms

Live from Port Charlotte: Rays to continue parade of arms

UPDATE, 9:59: Span, Williams and Velazquez have all reported to camp, leaving the Rays just Hechavarria shy of  a full house.Velazquez, who played last season at Double-A Montgomery, said he was pleasantly surprised to get a call on Tuesday, whi...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Lite beat: Flashy trades not always the smartest moves

Lite beat: Flashy trades not always the smartest moves

TAMPA — When it comes to the trade deadline, everyone wants the big names. The dream of blockbusters.Lightning fans would love Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson or Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh. Maybe even Rangers wing Rick Nash.But if you l...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Boys soccer: State semifinal primer

Boys soccer: State semifinal primer

Games start at 7 p.m. Saturday. Admission is $9.Class 5APlant City (17-1) at Sanford Seminole (25-1-3)About Plant City: A year after making their first region final, the Raiders have taken the next step with their first state semifinal appearance. Pl...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Dave Martinez has brought a slightly different approach to spring training

Dave Martinez has brought a slightly different approach to spring training

WEST PALM BEACH – Washington Nationals pitchers and catchers began Friday's workout at 9:30 a.m. with their daily Circle of Trust meeting. The gathering, designed to foster communication and competition, closed with hearty applause before the p...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Winter Olympics: Hanyu wins second figure skating gold

Winter Olympics: Hanyu wins second figure skating gold

GANGNEUNG, South Korea — Move over Dick Button, you have company atop the Olympic men's figure skating pantheon: Japan's Yuzuru Hanyu.Hanyu became the first man to successfully defend his Olympic title since Button in 1952. He held off countrym...
Published: 02/17/18
Fox News host rejects LeBron, Durant: ‘Shut up and dribble’

Fox News host rejects LeBron, Durant: ‘Shut up and dribble’

BY JONAH ENGEL BROMWICHNew York TimesFox News host Laura Ingraham on Thursday insulted LeBron James' intelligence and said he and fellow NBA star Kevin Durant should not express their political opinions, comments that drew a strong rebuke from James'...
Published: 02/17/18