Lily Stagg spent the late spring and most of the summer of 2016 riding with a group of cyclists from South Carolina to Santa Cruz, California, helping to build low-income housing along the way. The ride covered 4,200 miles in 81 days — including 18 days of working on houses.
There were 30 other riders in her group, including four team leaders. Most of the riders had never met each other until they gathered in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina (across the bay from Charleston) for a couple of days of preparation before they set out.
Adjusting to all those personalities during a period of extreme physical and mental exertion proved to be the biggest challenge of the adventure, Lily says in the interview.
The experience was intense and transformative. Lily was already a dedicated cyclist before her Bike and Build summer, having ridden as a member of the University of Louisiana Ragin Cajun Cycling team in the spring semester prior to the cross country ride. She had just recovered from a serious cycling accident prior to her collegiate team experience which provided the perfect training regime to at least get her ready to ride across the United States.
This interview was recorded in September, 2016, just over a month after Lily returned to Lafayette from California after completing the SC2SC Route and joining her by then best friends in dipping their wheels in the Pacific.
Since this interview, Lily has ridden another spring season with the UL team and branched out into cyclo-cross during the fall.
In this interview, Lily talks about how cycling evolved from a nice means of transportation into a passion that has her seeking out opportunities to race across the Gulf South.