CARE’s ‘Bike Path’ introduces 60-mile cycling route

By: Nick Mordowanec | C&G Newspapers | Published April 15, 2015

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MACOMB COUNTY — Grab your helmet and your favorite bicycle because it’s almost time to pedal your way around metro Detroit.


Macomb County will soon be inundated with bikes and riders, all traveling specific routes of differing lengths as part of CARE of Southeastern Michigan’s third annual Bike PATH fundraiser.


This year’s event takes place from 7 a.m.-2 p.m. Sunday, May 17. It kicks off at Lake St. Clair Metropark in Harrison Township as riders, sponsors, local dignitaries and volunteers all convene to raise money for CARE’s family-focused programs.


A new addition is the 60-mile trek, which was designed for avid cyclists who want more of a challenge and are used to riding longer distances. Simultaneously, it fits the needs of cyclists who want to attack longer routes but don’t have the opportunity in Macomb County.


“It was suggested and always in the plan from the beginning,” said CARE Development Director Meghan Kindsvater. “We just started out small. We were sort of getting our feet wet in the cycling community.”


CARE President and CEO Monique Stanton added that her organization knew that 10 miles was not a lengthy offering for more experienced cyclists, and adding different aspects to the Bike PATH event makes the event bigger as a whole.


“We knew there was a demand for longer rides on the east side,” Stanton said. “We knew with all the activity going on at Belle Isle, we wanted to do something more regional.”


The 60-mile trek will start at Lake St. Clair Metropark, leading to Jefferson Avenue, down to Belle Isle, and then across the bridge. Then, the cyclists will turn around and come back.


Offering a longer ride is opportune for a fundraiser that is growing each year.


Attendance doubled from the event’s first year in 2013, to the second year. Whereas $20,000 was raised the first year, almost $50,000 was raised during the second year.


Adding new features and bigger sponsors has been beneficial, as has appearances from dignitaries including local state representatives Marilyn Lane and Anthony Forlini, Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel, Sheriff Anthony Wickersham and former Detroit Lions players.


The original rides of 2, 10 and 25 miles are still being offered.


The 2-mile ride will take place inside the park, the 10-mile ride will go from the park to Crocker and back, and the 25-mile ride will start at the park and go to Freedom Hill County Park in Sterling Heights and back.


While 400-plus participants and 100 volunteers helped raise tens of thousands last year, the goal is to raise more than $60,000 this year. As of April 9, Stanton said, $36,000 has been raised.


The rider goal is 600 participants, while the number of volunteers needed is around 200, with the expectation that 800 people will be involved in some capacity on the spring day. According to Stanton, most people have signed up for the 60-mile ride.


Three major sponsors include Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Henry Ford Macomb and Macomb County Prosecutor Eric Smith’s office.


“This is our signature fundraising event and a critical way to generate revenue for our agency,” Stanton said. “It’s also important to raise awareness in our community and a way to connect behavioral health services to overall wellness and well-being.”


Rides are staggered and begin at different times depending on length. The 60-mile ride is slated to start at 7 a.m. so that the cyclists can start and finish in the allotted amount of time.


The event also includes children’s activities, a bicycle parade, vendors, raffles and refreshments. Also, individuals who raise or donate $100 will receive a cycling jersey.


“The event really has grown, and it’s super fun to be out in the community and have people come up to our table and (ask questions),” Kindsvater said. “People are really excited for it.”


Registration is free for children 12 and younger and $30 per rider for those 13 and older before April 30. After April 30, registration increases to $40. All riders are required to wear helmets. Entries must be received by April 22 to guarantee an event T-shirt. Walk-up registration will be available.


To register, volunteer or create your own team, visit http://www.careofsem.com/events/bike-path/ or call (586) 218-5269 for more information.

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