All bikes are welcome to the event: mountain bikes, road bikes and colorful bikes with streamers; small ones, large ones and tall ones, too.
Annie Kinworthy, community development coordinator, said the nonprofit is hoping for 400 participants and to raise $80,000.
“At a previous event, we had seven states represented,” Kinworthy said. “There are people who are hungry for events like this.”
Kinworthy said Habitat is hoping to reach across the lines for beginners as well as advanced riders. Changes have been made to the event to generate greater interest.
“We reversed all of the routes,” Kinworthy said. “It does not sound like a big deal, but you see a completely different canvas on your ride.”
Three routes are offered starting and ending from Bradley Central High School: a 20-kilometer (12.4 miles), a 50K (31.07 miles) and a 100K (62 miles). The starting time for each event is staggered by an hour with the 100K beginning at 7 a.m. Kinworthy said an extra 30 minutes was added between each course to ensure most contestants finished at the same time.
SAG stops, or support and gear, will be spread out across the interweaving courses. These stops will give riders an opportunity to use the restrooms. Snacks and drinks will also be provided.
“Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are great energy for riders,” Kinworthy assured.
Saul Raisin, a professional cyclist, and Hector Picard, a bi-lateral amputee and triathlete, will be this year’s celebrity participants. The nonprofit is hoping to generate interest among skilled riders with their inclusion.
“Saul is the one who was literally slated to be the next Lance Armstrong. He was actually in a race in France when he had a horrible accident,” Kinworthy said. “His body was lacerated and a portion of his brain was removed.”
Continued Kinworthy, “He has survived against all odds. His doctor said only 1 percent who experience a brain injury like Saul’s survive, and they do not usually recover.”
She said Picard is also an inspiration.
“He had an accident where both of his arms had to be amputated. He is incredible,” Kinworthy said. “I watched some of his videos online and it is inspirational.”
Both Raisin and Picard will be at Bike to Build’s early registration at Toyota of Cleveland on April 19. They will be available for photos and autographs. Copies of Raisin’s book, “Tour de Life” will be available for purchase.
Participants may ride as individuals or as a team. Kinworthy said spirit rider teams have now been added to the list at registration. According to the event’s pamphlet, “Spirit riders ride in the Bike to Build in honor or in memory of a loved one.”
Kinworthy highlighted one of the first spirit rider teams, Jeff’s Hope.
“Leigh Miller is the frontrunner for Jeff’s Hope,” Kinworthy said. “Jeff passed away last year right before the Bike to Build. He had been riding in every Bike to Build we had before losing his battle to brain cancer.”
Miller organized a spirit team to ride in her late husband’s honor. Their team raised the most money through donations.
Danny Jenkins, a cyclist enthusiast and paraplegic, had a team in his honor in last year’s event.
“He was an avid cyclist before he had [a bicycling] accident and it caused him to be a paraplegic,” Kinworthy said. “He sure enough showed up with his team. They all had a picture [of him cycling] on their shirts.”
Kinworthy said the support from the community in previous years has been great.
“These people are so avid for Bike to Build because they believe in the mission statement of building homes, community and, most of all, hope,” Kinworthy said. “It is kind of turning into this thing where people are attracted to the Bike to Build for personal, often sentimental reasons.”
Registration for Bike to Build is open. A link can be found at the bottom of Habitat’s main homepage by going to www.habitatofcleveland.org. Those interested can also look at the maps for the routes, as well as sign up to volunteer.
“The biggest need for this event is for turn directors. They are people who will stand on an important turn in the route,” Kinworthy said. “Oftentimes these three routes will share the same route, but they turn different ways. We need someone to stand there with a sign we provide and say, ‘Go left red route,’ or ‘Straight yellow route.’”
There are 83 significant turns in the event.
A new package has also been added to the registration. Riders now have the choice between the standard package and a new VIP package. A standard package is $40 and includes free cotton T-shirt, snacks, lunch, a goody bag and full SAG service. The VIP package is $55 includes a Dri-Fit T-shirt, a carabiner, a zippered sport bag, snacks, lunch, a goody bag and full SAG service.
Registration can also be completed by filling out one of Habitat’s Bike to Build pamphlets. All riders are encouraged to raise $100 through sponsorships. Registration for the standard rate and VIP rate end April 19. Registration costs the day of the event, April 20, will be $75.