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Bikes 4 Bikes

It’s not every day that this 53 year old is asked to play in the mud but, thanks to a generous girl and a good cause, that’s exactly what I got to do.

Riley came to us last fall with a mission. She wanted to raise enough money through donations to provide an adaptive bike for a special needs child at Christmas. She did better than a single bike. Riley raised over $12,000 which provided adaptive bikes to seven children.

This year Riley continues her good works with the help of Haines Middle School’s Builder’s Club. On Saturday, November 13 about 40 hardy (or foolhardy) souls, from early teens to Grandmothers, met at the start of the Great Western Trail and rode in the mud, rain and grit to help Riley realize her dream to provide adaptive bikes for several children again this Christmas. With the out-and-back format of the ride, riders could choose just how long they wanted to play in the mud. Eight of us crazier riders actually made it to the 10 mile marker and back, the maximum miles assigned for the ride. We all knew when we came to the ride exactly what we were riding in but it surprised and impressed me that not a disparaging word was heard. In spite of some of the nastiest riding conditions I’ve encountered since my Texas ride of 2009 we were an upbeat group. After the ride, covered in mud and limestone grit from head to toe, sopping wet and cold, we exchanged laughs at the Bike Rack over food and drink provided by several local businesses.

During our post-ride gathering, Tommy, the eight year old older brother of one of last year’s recipients of Riley’s generosity, surprised Riley with a check for over $1300. Inspired by Riley and the joy his sister got from her bike, Tommy decided to pay it forward. He sold suckers throughout the year, door-to-door in different neighborhoods and at bowling leagues at 25 cents each. In all he sold close to 5000 suckers!

November 13th’s ride raised over $4000. It also raised awareness of the abilities of children who are often viewed by their disabilities. Riley will continue to fundraiser through Christmas so that, again this year, several children who would’t normally get the opportunity can experience the joy of cycling.

And I got to play in the mud.

A special thanks to the following local businesses who donated food for Riley’s ride: Olive Garden, Gino’s East, Costco, TGI Fridays, Jewel, Target, Sam’s Club, Rookies, Sweet Tomatoes.

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