Longview's Rowell Set To Bike Across America

This summer, Longview's Eric Rowell will take on a big job.

But his work will not benefit his pocket book. Instead it will provide families across the country with homes.

Eric's charity work will stretch across the more than 3,000 miles that separates Providence, Rhode Island and Seattle, Washington.

It's a journey Eric will make on his bicycle.

"I've always enjoyed riding my bike and riding across the country is something that I've just always wanted to do," Eric said.

Over the next three months, Eric will combine his love of cycling and his willingness to lend a helping hand, into a challenging spirtual and physical journey.

"I've always been somebody who's been able to help out," he explained. "Growing up we'd always go on mission trips. We helped build churches when I was young. That was our family vacation. It's been one of those things, life-long, to help others out."

When the 20-year-old Louisiana Tech student heard of the Bike and Build program, he signed right up.

Eric will fly out for for Providence on June 4. His group will then begin their cross country bike ride, arriving in Seattle on August 10th.

"We'll stop every seven or eight days and take time off to work on a Habitat (for Humanity) house or other organizations like that. Every night we'll give presentations on affordable housing and how other people can get involved in more ways."

The 3,000-plus mile trip is longer than cycling's Super Bowl: The Tour de France. That notoriously challenging race is about 2,200 miles.

"Some mornings I wake up and I'm like man, I'm going to do this every day this summer," Eric laughed. "I think that's going to be the most challenging part is just day in and day out knowing I'm getting back on the bike."

Eric's Bike and Build group will ride each day from about 6:30 in the morning until 2 o'clock in the afternoon, averaging between 50 to 100 miles. He's trained for months to get ready.

"I ride at least one 60 mile ride a week and I try to get on the bike at least four or five times a week."

While Eric's trip will be difficult, he hopes to inspire other East Texans into action.

"Just keep me in your prayers this summer," he said, "because it's going to be a lot of travel and I need safety for sure."

If you would like to donate to the Bike and Build program or for  more information Eric's journey, just visit www.ericbikesamerica.com.