As many as 70 volunteers will assist with Saturday's "Bike to Build" event, the ninth in Habitat for Humanity's history.
Saturday’s “Bike to Build” bicycle ride to benefit Scotland County Habitat for Humanity will be a lot like last year’s edition of the event, and that is a good thing, according to Habitat Executive Director Susan Covington.
“The only difference is that this year we expect to have a few more riders, but everything else will be about the same,” said Covington.“I know that sounds boring, but it’s really a great thing, because the event has been a success in the past.”
Nearly 150 cyclists are expected to participate in the 2012 edition of the event, which starts at the Scotland Memorial Hospital Dulin Center Saturday morning.
Covington said that the organization anticipates raising $25,000 through the event, which welcomes riders of all ages and skill levels to participate in one of four races (64, 32, 21 and 10.5-miles). The event raised more than $22,000 in 2011.
To date Habitat has built 38 homes in partnership with families in need in Scotland County. The average house costs $70,000 to build.
The oldest rider signed up so far this year is 82-years old, and “there will be a lot of babies riding along on the backs of their parents,” said Covington.
Part of the reason for keeping the same route, noted Covington, is that feedback from both competitive and recreational cyclists alike has been overwhelmingly positive since “Bike to Build’s” inception in 2003.
“We get a lot of compliments from out-of-towners, and from people who ride in other events,” said Covington, adding that competitive riders especially like that “they don’t have any hills to contend with” on the scenic courses that wind through the Scotland County countryside.
“That doesn’t sound like a lot, but grades can really slow you down, whether your on foot or on a bicycle,” said Habitat board member and former “Bike to Build” cyclist Jim Hunt.
“I’ve been able to ride in four or five of these rides, and I will miss participating this year,” said Hunt, who also serves on the planning committee for the event.
The four mapped routes will cover different parts of the county, including the Lumber River as well as historical points such as the path of “Sherman’s March” and a number of other sites.
Covington also credits “tremendous community support” with the longevity and continued success of the ride, which will rely on over 70 volunteers this year in addition to the support of the Sheriff’s Department and the Laurinburg Police Department.
“It’s very important that we get together as a community to help one another, and this is a way to do that,” said first-time volunteer Kesha White, who will serve as the event’s official photographer.
“I love taking photos, but I am even more excited to be helping out the cause,” said White following Thursday’s volunteer planning meeting at the Dulin Center.
The most competitive OVERSET FOLLOWS:ride, the 64-mile (103k) tour of the county, will start at 8:30 a.m., with all other rides beginning at 9 a.m., rain or shine.
On-site registration begins at 7:30 a.m. Saturday morning and youth under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult.
All riders are encouraged to carry identification, emergency contact information and a cell phone.
Helmets are required for all participants.
Each registered participant receives a free T Shirt, a cue sheet with detailed route directions and historical information, rest stops, snacks and SAG support. Colored arrows are painted on the roads, and each of the 4 routes are represented by a different color. Refreshments are provided at all rest stops and after riding. Day of registration is $30 per individual or $25 for a team of four or more.
For information or registration information visit www.biketobuild.org or contact the Habitat office at 276-3337, or at email@example.com.