By JOHN KLINE
THE GOSHEN NEWS
ELKHART — Cycling met philanthropy at Concord High School Saturday morning as approximately 250 cyclists hit the pavement to show their support for the 41st annual ADEC Ride-A-Bike fundraising event.
“This is our 41st Ride-A-Bike, so you could say we’ve been doing this for a while,” said Nancy Bounds, community relations coordinator for ADEC. “It’s just a fun, family-friendly ride, a great fundraiser, and a great way to get all of our families, our constituents and our friends together.”
As part of the event, which raises funds to support local individuals and families living with disabilities, participants were able to choose from a 20-mile, 9-mile and 5-mile bike ride, as well as a shorter neighborhood walk for those preferring to show their support on foot.
While not the highest turnout the event has ever drawn, Bounds said she is always impressed by the outpouring of generosity she sees from the ADEC community and its supporters — many of whom are multi-year participants.
“There is so much competition this year, so many other events going on at the same time, we were hoping to have at least 200 people,” Bounds said. “Some years we’ve had 300, but you can never be sure because we have a lot of people with multiple events going on today. We do have a large group from Elkhart Community Schools that showed up, we have a group from Central High School and Hawthorne Elementary, and we also expect to have some Northridge kids. So right now it’s looking like it will be pretty varied.”
In order to take part in the event, individuals were asked to secure $30 or more in pledges, while families and groups were asked to secure $60 or more in pledges, all of which will go toward supporting ADEC’s work in the community.
Numerous prizes are awarded to the top pledge earners for the event, which typically raises between $20,000 to $30,000 for the organization.
“As our biggest fundraiser of the year, this money goes to our services that are not funded in any other way,” Bounds said. “Some of those include our guardianship services, our family service which provide a day camp for children, our after school care, and then it also gives us some extras to go above and beyond just the minimum of expectations.”
For Elkhart’s Naomi Greene, the annual ADEC Ride-A-Bike fundraiser is becoming a bit of a family tradition.
“My brother has a child with Down Syndrome, so ADEC has been very instrumental in helping her along the way,” Greene said. “So that’s why I choose to ride. This is my second year, and it’s just a great event. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it. It’s just great to see so many people supporting a great cause, and I know it raises a lot of money for them each year.”
As for three-time participant Jill Stitt of Elkhart, the ADEC Ride-A-Bike event is always a great opportunity to get out, get a little exercise and support the community.
“A few years ago some of my friends told me about this ride, said it’s fun and I should try it, so I thought, ‘Sure, why not?’, and this is my third year doing it,” Stitt said with a laugh. “I like to ride, I like the charity involved, and it’s just a fun, safe ride. I really enjoy it.”