Chad Knowles: Guest opinion |

Chad Knowles: Guest opinion

Chad Knowles
Special to The Aspen Times
Aspen CO Colorado

“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.” – Harriet Tubman

Years ago when I was a dedicated soccer player, I would watch games and notice how the extra effort and exceptional bodily sacrifice put forth by certain players could elevate the level of play of an entire team. Achieving this power of influence became my passion. Every game it was my goal to raise the bar – to influence others, through my own actions, to test the limits of their earthen bodys as I did. That’s how I earned the nickname, “The Machine.”

I no longer have aspirations to play professional soccer, but the tried and true ideology stuck and has been the driving force of my life since. My name is Chad Knowles. I am a 24-year-old engineering graduate from Texas Tech who set out, after graduating, on an adventure to live my dreams, pursue other interests, and explore the world. After a thrilling summer working in Alaska’s fishing industry, I set my sights on working at a ski resort in Colorado. With the help of being an avid personal kitchen chef, I found a job as a cook here in Aspen. I have never experienced a winter in the midst of mountains, but I find the snow-spawned recreation perfectly befitting to my active lifestyle.

As I recollect on past achievements, perhaps none stand to compare with the epic endeavour set to commence on June 18 of this year. I will be joining a group of 33 other cyclists in Portland, Maine, on a westbound 4,000-mile journey to Santa Barbara, Calif. My group is one of eight groups that will be representing an organization called Bike and Build. Bike and Build is a 501(c)(3) independent nonprofit organization that was founded in 2002. Every summer since, teams of courageous young adults (18-25) volunteer to bike from ocean to ocean and assist and raise awareness for affordable-housing efforts throughout the nation.

While on this expedition, we will be working with organizations such as Habitat for Humanity to actually construct homes. We will also be giving town-hall presentations to community members – addressing an array of topics related to affordable housing. A typical week might include biking an average of 60 miles a day for five days, then giving a presentation and resting on one day, and spending the next at a construction site hanging sheet rock, pounding nails, and painting walls .

I aspire to be successful in completing this mission on the grounds that I will be giving others a healthier life all while improving upon myself. Two years ago, as I found my daily biking experience brought balance into my life, I set a goal to one day bike across the North American continent. I excitedly await the moment when I gaze out across the Pacific Ocean over an odometer that reads nearly 4,000. Helping to construct affordable houses and informing people about the nation’s need for such housing is the focus of my mission. The results of Bike and Build’s success will be preserved for many years in the smile lines on our nation’s faces – and will be noticed in the stronger performance of our nourished children. I also hope that people find inspiration through me to better themselves. If I encourage just a few people to start living healthier, it will be all worth it. Good deeds create rippling effects. As H.G. Wells once said, “When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race.”

As part of Bike and Build’s mission, each cyclist must raise $4,000 before the trip to participate. I am writing this letter to ask for donations in support of this effort. The proceeds from the trip will be used to fund young adult driven affordable housing projects. If you are interested in supporting my Bike and Build fundraising effort, please go to Bike and Build’s website ( and find my name (Chad Knowles) on the list to make an online contribution. You can also learn more about the organization there. My online bio along with the bios of all other cyclists going on this trip can be found on the 2011 cyclists page.

Thank you, Aspen Times, for allowing me to write this article and thank you all for reading.

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