Scheduled Saturday, April 21, the three-course bicycle extravaganza will begin and end in the Bradley Central High School parking lot for bike riders of all ages and levels.
To date, about 200 cyclists and 165 volunteers have signed up. More are needed in both categories, according to Annie Kinworthy, community development coordinator for the local Habitat affiliate who is heading up this year’s recruitment for riders and sponsors.
“We still need volunteers ... probably somewhere in the 20s, maybe close to 30,” Kinworthy said. “We’re getting a little anxious about the number of riders so we’re hoping the numbers of those registering will pick up the closer we get to Bike to Build.”
It’s only three weeks away so Cleveland and Bradley County residents who enjoy a good bicycle ride — and who believe in the cause that has spirited the local Habitat for Humanity affiliate into the hearts of thousands of supporters — are urged to complete their registrations online or by paper forms that are available in published Bike to Build brochures.
And speaking of “spirited,” Habitat for Humanity has launched a new opportunity in the coming third annual Bike to Build fundraiser. It is called the “Spirit Rider,” an inspirational brainstorm credited to volunteer Brian Welch who designed the trio of courses for the coming ride.
“We are always humbled by the community’s involvement in this event,” Welch said. “With Cleveland being ‘The City With Spirit,’ we thought it would be great to be able to give people a way to ride in memory of their loved ones.”
The new registration level gives riders the chance to form teams in honor, or in memory, of loved ones, the Habitat supporter and staunch volunteer explained. These teams can raise donations and ride together during Bike to Build.
One such team already committed to the community-popular fundraiser is “Jeff’s Hope,” a name originating from lead team member Kevin Scoggins who wanted to find a way to remember his deceased friend.
“We wanted to honor a great friend,” Scoggins explained. “Jeff was inspiring to all of those who met him.”
More information about the team’s namesake, and his impact on the group of riders who will be cycling in his honor, will be published in a future edition of the Cleveland Daily Banner.
Area residents, and cycling enthusiasts and Habitat supporters from across the nation, are encouraged to form a “Spirit Rider” team, Welch explained. They can register online following the same procedure as all other riders at the Habitat for Humanity of Cleveland website at www.habitatofcleveland.org.
Registration fee is $55. All Bike to Build funds from the local event remain in Bradley County and are used toward the organization’s community development initiatives and home construction.
On April 20-21, the fee goes to $75.
The 2011 Bike to Build landed about 400 bicycle riders so this year’s campaign faces some serious pedaling if it is to match last year’s results. Outdoor activists are reminded Bike to Build caters to all levels of bicycle riders. It is not a race and is not limited to fast-paced experts. Novices and outdoor enthusiasts are welcome.
“Anybody who enjoys getting out and riding a bicycle, that’s who Bike to Build wants,” Kinworthy explained. “And for those who don’t ride a bicycle, but who want to get involved because it’s for Habitat for Humanity, we always need volunteers.”
The most pressing need for workers now is for turn directors; that is, those who stand along street and road intersections to direct riders. The courses are not marked so directors are key members of the volunteer brigade.
Just like those wishing to ride, volunteers can also register online at the Habitat website. Questions may be directed to 423-476-6947. The Habitat offices, and the Habitat ReStore, are located at 300 Grove Ave. S.W. in the former Cinema Twin 1 & 2 Theater building.
A few reminders about Bike to Build include:
- Riders are asked to raise $100 each in personal sponsorships.
- Current corporate sponsors include Toyota of Cleveland, Shane’s Rib Shack, Deli Boys, Scott’s Bikes, First Presbyterian Church of Cleveland, Lee Cycling Club, Regions Bank, Pioneer Credit Company and Detour DJ & Audio.
- Three courses featuring different distances will be available. They were designed by Welch, an avid cyclist and Cleveland resident whose priorities for an enjoyable ride include making the routes challenging and directing the courses through scenic areas.
- The shortest course is a 20K (12.4 miles) which includes 269 feet of elevation with one SAG stop at Mile 7; start time is 9:30 a.m.
- The mid-range course is a 50K (31.07 miles) which includes 787 feet of elevation with one SAG stop at Mile 21; start time is 9 a.m.
- The longest course is a 100K (62 miles) which includes 1,476 feet of elevation with two SAG stops; start time is 8:30 a.m.
- All riders are asked to arrive at BCHS a full hour before their start times.
- On-site registration is available on the morning of the ride beginning at 7:30; however, participants are urged to use a special registration the night before at Toyota of Cleveland. This advanced registration (Rider Check-In) will be held Friday, April 20, from 5 to 7 p.m. at the automobile dealership.
- Bike to Build will be held rain or shine.
- All riders are required to wear a helmet. Riders are encouraged to carry IDs, emergency contact information and a cell phone if it is available.
- Youth under age 16 who are riders must be accompanied by an adult.
- Registration fees may be paid by check or money order and should be made payable to “Habitat for Humanity of Cleveland.” Payment by credit card may be done by registering online at www.habitatofcleveland.org.
- Funds raised by riders must be turned in at Rider Check-In, whether on-site Saturday morning or at Toyota of Cleveland Friday evening.
- Time required of volunteers will be about half-a-day, not including a pre-event training session.
The $80,000 goal is aggressive but doable, Habitat leaders believe.
“We knew it was a lofty goal going in, but because of the community’s acceptance of Bike to Build we feel like the sky’s the limit,” Kinworthy said. “We have to aim high, but over the years Cleveland and Bradley County has always been there for Habitat for Humanity.”
To date, the event has raised $40,000, enough to build one of the two Habitat houses.