CLEARFIELD – With one bike, eight days, and a lot of determination a local man will be setting out to raise money for Habitat for Humanity of Clearfield County.
On Thursday morning, John Farr, president of Clearfield Habitat for Humanity, will be biking from DuBois City Park to Chicago, Ill.
During an interview Wednesday, Farr said he has been doing rides to raise money for Habitat for Humanity since 2001. Farr is an experienced cyclist, having recently participated in the Tour de Susquehanna.
Farr said in previous years, he has ridden from DuBois to Niagara Falls, across Pennsylvania from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia and from Pymatuning to the Delaware River.
Farr said he uses PennDOT-approved bicycling routes, which are marked with green signs.
Once Farr leaves DuBois, he plans to cycle about 60 miles to Emlenton. From there, Farr said he will try to average between 60-65 miles per day. Farr said he plans to be in Chicago on Sept. 12.
“I have a ‘rest day’ planed if needed,” Farr said. “Usually by the fourth day, it can be pretty hard. Sometimes you loosen up and you can get going. Towards the end, you really get into the rhythm and you’re feeling pretty good.”
Farr said he expects to arrive in Chicago in time to meet his wife and to attend his high school class reunion.
Farr said the amount of money he’s raised has varied. He said two years ago, he raised about $14,000. This year, he was able to secure sponsorships from O’Korn State Farm, Cummings Law Office, Reynolds Financial of DuBois and Dominion Energy. He said he’s hoping to raise about $15,000.
Farr said he’s been involved with Clearfield Habitat for Humanity for about 25 years. According to the Web site, Habitat for Humanity of Clearfield County offers a number of services to the community and potential participants of the Homes for Hope program.
Habitat for Humanity partners with communities all over the world, to help them build or improve housing. Habitat homeowners help build their own homes alongside volunteers and pay an affordable mortgage.
Farr said the program is not a “giveaway” program.
“It’s fabulous in a lot of ways, Farr said. “The homeowners will have a 20-year mortgage, just like any other homeowner. It’s an interest-free mortgage with no down-payment, so they end up paying about a quarter of what they would pay outside of the program.”
Farr said there’s also a requirement of “sweat equity,” in which the homeowner must complete a set number of hours working on their home alongside the volunteers.
“It’s a helping hand, rather than just giving it away,” Farr said. “That’s something that the homeowners and the donors need to understand.”
He said he has been involved with the program for so long, that the first families in the county to receive Habitat Homes have paid off their mortgages.
He said he enjoys the opportunity to use his love of cycling to help the program.
“When you’re on a bike, you’ve got the whole sky over you all day, you’re traveling around 12 miles-per-hour, you get to take in the world in a way you don’t get in a car or on a motorcycle. In a lot of ways, it’s actually preferable and the joy is being outside in the world all day,” Farr said.
Those wishing to track Farr on his ride, or to make donations can do so by visiting www.bike2build.org.