Geology junior Grant Morey of St. Louis is wrapping up a summer-long cycling excursion from Virginia to Oregon, constructing homes with the organization Bike & Build. A competitive road racer, Morey said the project presented an opportunity to ride across America with purpose. The service-oriented cycling trip engages young adults with organizations such as Habitat for Humanity, Rebuilding Together, YouthBuild and local nonprofits while raising awareness of the need for affordable housing. Participants ride an average of 66 miles per day while relying on the generous hearts of churches, community centers and schools for food, rest and showers.
Students empowered to serve
Morey’s desire to combat one of America’s leading social issues is a common attitude among the TU student population. The TU community empowers students to get involved and make a difference in the lives of those struggling in their home towns and around the world.
“In Tulsa, I’m in contact with homeless people all the time, and it’s just heartbreaking to see,” Morey said. “Hopefully, by the end of the trip, I will have made some sort of difference. I hope it’s life changing.”
Morey’s adventures on a bike began when he found Tulsa’s cycling community as a TU freshman. During a local group ride one evening, he made several friends who became cycling mentors.
“I have two lives — one here at school and one out cycling,” Morey said. “It takes a lot of my time, but I just love getting outside, pushing myself and hanging out with new people. It’s just a great sport.”
Morey is primarily a road cyclist with category 4 racing status, but he hopes to improve his rating to a 3 by the end of the year. Tulsa is home to several annual cycling festivals such as Tulsa Tough that offer an array of criterium races, but he said he prefers the open road. “I’m more of a road race guy — longer distances with some hills. I like the idea of an endurance challenge.”
Cycling in Tulsa
He averages about 10 hours a week on his GURU bike that he has carefully upgraded for performance, joking that it “is probably nicer than my car.” Between maintenance and travel to rides, Morey devotes anywhere from 15 to 20 hours a week to cycling at some of his favorite locations such as Riverside and the hills north of the city.
“Tulsa is a great area to ride because you can get out to the open roads quick,” he said. “There’s not a lot of traffic, and it’s a great community for cycling.”
Morey also is a regular at Tulsa’s Wednesday night rides that attract hundreds of cyclists each week. This spring, he spent almost every weekend racing competitively within the region. Morey said cycling helps relieve the worries and stress of a demanding school schedule.
“For anybody interested in riding, I’m always happy to talk to them or ride with them,” he said. “You just have to find the right people to help you along and get started.”
Watch from earlier this spring as Morey discusses cycling in Tulsa and the Bike and Build project.
Once Morey concludes his Bike & Build tour in mid-August, he plans to study abroad this fall in Copenhagen and research glaciers in Greenland. In addition to his degree in geology, he is earning minors in environmental policy and philosophy to prepare for graduate school and a career in the Earth sciences field.
“I love being outside, and I’ve always loved math and science,” Morey said. “I want to do something that helps the Earth or helps me understand it better.”
After choosing TU for its small size and comfortable distance from his St. Louis home, Morey has fallen in love with the campus, the city and the sport of road racing.
Learn more about Morey’s journey across the United States or follow the Bike & Build group on Instagram at #cus18.