We speak of Habitat for Humanity of Cleveland, a highly respected nonprofit group that changes lives daily — not just for deserving families who are working to build their futures, but also for hundreds and thousands of volunteers who are helping to build their homes.
On Saturday, April 21, the local Habitat affiliate will host its third annual Toyota of Cleveland Bike to Build, a family-friendly fundraiser that last year involved 400 registered bicyclists and a whopping 282 volunteers.
The coming festivity promises to offer just as much fun and excitement for participants in all age groups and bicycling levels who may choose one of three courses depending upon their experience, their fitness and their willingness to pedal for one of the finest causes imaginable.
At last count, more than 200 cyclists had registered and Habitat was still looking for more; some 165 volunteers had signed up, but a larger crew is needed — especially for turn director slots. These are volunteers who stand at integral intersections and roadway junctions to assure that cyclists make the correct turns in order to stay on course.
The number of bicycle riders who register for Saturday’s event is critical because each pays a registration fee of $55 for now, and which will increase to $75 on Friday and Saturday. Too, each cyclist is asked to raise at least $100 in sponsorships.
The more riders who sign up, the more money is raised by Bike to Build whose goal is $80,000. This is enough money to build two $40,000 homes by Habitat for Humanity volunteers. All money stays in Cleveland and Bradley County, and each house is built in our hometown community.
At last report, sufficient funds to build one house had been secured; however, very little toward the second house had been raised.
Individuals, families and teams wishing to get involved are reminded expert cycling skills are not required. Admittedly, many experienced cyclists will be on hand, but they traditionally sign up for either of the longer courses. Those who just enjoy a bicycling pleasure ride are often lured by the shorter course with fewer elevations. But cyclists are free to choose their preference.
For anyone straddling the fence on whether to participate for the rain-or-shine festivity, your course options include a 20K (12.4 miles), a 50K (31.07 miles) and a 100K (62 miles). The shorter courses have fewer feet of elevation, the longer courses have more.
Safety is a key. Youth under 16 who are riders must be accompanied by an adult. All riders must wear a helmet. Riders are encouraged to carry IDs, emergency contact information and a cellphone if it is available.
On-site registration kicks off at 7:30 a.m. Saturday at Bradley Central High School; however, riders are urged to check in early at an advance registration Friday from 5 to 7 p.m. at Toyota of Cleveland. All three courses begin and end in the BCHS parking lot.
Questions may be directed to 423-476-6947 or the Habitat website at www.habitatofcleveland.org. And don’t forget to consider signing up your cycling team as a “Spirit Rider,” which is a new concept this year enabling teams to ride in honor, or in memory, of a loved one.
Bike to Build is about bicycling, but it’s not about a race.
Bike to Build is about raising some money, but every dollar is going to build local Habitat houses.
Bike to Build is about looking for support from the community, but its beneficiary is the community itself.
Bike to Build is not about who’s the best, who’s the fastest and who’s most fit.
Bike to Build is about pedaling for a cause and that cause is to help families build dreams.