LAURINBURG — Accentuated by the whirring of bicycle spokes, the rubber will meet the road all over Scotland County on Saturday in Habitat for Humanity’s 11th annual Bike to Build fundraiser.
So far, some 50 cyclists have registered for the event. Registration will remain open this week and on Saturday morning, with a total of 150 riders expected to pedal through one of the four routes mapped out by Habitat staff.
Habitat for Humanity has constructed more than 40 homes in Scotland County, at a rate of about two homes per year, since its inception. The organization’s largest single fundraiser, Bike to Build typically raises about $25,000, or one-third of the cost to build a home.
All routes will begin on the campus of Scotland Memorial Hospital, with the shortest at 10 miles leading cyclists to X-Way Road past the James Lytch house. The 64 mile “Tour of Scotland” will take bikers the length and breadth of Scotland County through Wagram, Mason’s Crossroads, and Maxton.
According to Habitat for Humanity Executive Director Susan Covington, the event is not a race, and is meant to allow cyclists, both locals and visitors, to enjoy Scotland County’s natural settings. Ride times range from 90 minutes for the 10-mile ride to five hours for the longest route.
“We’ve got a good weather report, a lot of people registered, and about 40 local sponsors,” Covington said.
In the week prior to the event, Habitat volunteers and county staff put in the preparation to make every aspect of the bike tour pleasant: painting directional arrows for the various routes, cleaning up litter, and scouting the routes for stray dogs.
Half of Bike to Build’s participants usually opt for the longest route, which begins at 8:30 a.m. All other rides will leave the hospital at 9 a.m. The two intermediate routes, at 21 miles and 32 miles, will travel through the Mason’s Crossroads and Springfield areas, with the 32 mile ride continuing past Old Laurel Hill Presbyterian Church.
Participants receive a T-shirt, snacks at rest stops, and support and gear crews on each route. Showers will be provided so that non-local riders can freshen up after the tour. For those who would rather not spend hours perched over a narrow bicycle seat, the event will also offer a 5K walk/run.
Online registration, at biketobuild.org, will remain open through Friday for $25 per person or $20 per person for teams. Participants may also register on Saturday morning for $30 per individual or $25 for a team. Registration for the 5K walk/run is $15 per person or $10 per person in a team of four or more.
Registration may also be completed in person at the Habitat ReStore. For other information or registration options, contact the Habitat for Humanity office at 910-276-3337.
Mary Katherine Murphy can be reached at 910-276-2311, ext. 17. Follow her on Twitter @emkaylbg.