Frey left his job in corporate finance at GE Renewable Energy to join Boerema on the Bike & Build trip, which he calls the experience of a lifetime. Now an associate at Movable Ink in New York City, Frey counts the following incident among those that made the trip an indelible lifetime experience:
"Jacob and I were riding through the mountains in Colorado and were at the epicenter of the worst thunderstorm I have ever experienced. Think of the worst storm you have ever driven through and amplify that by at least three. We tried numerous times to stop and pull over but there wasn't enough room on the side of the road to stop safely.
"As we started descending the mountain, there were falling rocks and the road was starting to flood with mud shooting across it. Jacob was behind me, and at times the water rushing across the road made it nearly impossible to keep my bike upright.
"Jacob and I have been best friends for a long time, but there is something really special about sharing something so vivid and knowing that this challenge was for a cause and that we had the opportunity to make a difference."
Boerema, Frey and other Bike & Build participants pitched in on construction projects along the route. (Photo provided)
Clearly, neither Frey nor Boerema is averse to risk.
“We’ve been known to do things that are out of the ordinary,” Boerema says of their adventures. Running the half-marathon in Taiwan; taking cross-country motorcycle trips on a whim; driving through the night from South Carolina to Washington, D.C., where they ran a marathon at 9 a.m. then drove straight to New York City. “We are constantly looking for challenges,” he says.
Looking back on their most recent challenge, Boerema recalls ending a day of riding in 118-degree weather and meeting one of the people who benefited from the Bike & Build program. The man, from Ghana, was employed as a janitor and had worked 12-hour days to bring his six daughters to the United States. He had a huge amount of gratitude for being able to buy his own home, Boerema says.
“It all clicked,” he says of the meeting. “You put so much work into the ride and the build-up, and when you are on the bike, you are constantly looking for ways to motivate yourself. It all clicked — that was the main reason we were riding.”
In the final post on his trip blog — August 22, 2012 — Boerema reflected on the adventure that had just ended:
“To say this has been the adventure of a lifetime would be selling it short. This physically exhausting, social experiment of a bicycling trip across the country with 30 strangers has taught me more about myself than I could have ever asked.”