For more than two decades, Bike to the Bridge has been a family-friendly way to have fun, get some healthy exercise and raise money for a great, locally based organization — Cancer Assistance of Williams County (CAWC).
The 21st annual Bike to the Bridge (BTTB) fundraiser is Saturday, Aug. 7. The ride is open to anyone and everyone with a bicycle and day-of registration begins at 8:30 a.m. at CAWC’s office, at 1425 E. High St., Bryan (the Williams County Community Offices/East Annex building).
Preregistration and additional event information is available at www.b2tb.club.
This year, to mark the 21st annual ride, the goal is to raise at least $15,000 for CAWC, a local 501(c)(3) non-profit that provides financial and other assistance strictly to Williams County residents with needs related to their cancer diagnosis.
In the past, around 60 riders have participated in Bike to the Bridge, which is so named because the longer rides travel to the Lockport Covered Bridge. There are multiple distances so that riders of all abilities and interests have options, including:
• A 50-mile round-trip ride to the Lockport Covered Bridge, Goll Woods and back to Bryan ($35 entry fee);
• A 25-mile round-trip ride to the Lockport Covered Bridge on County Road 21.N and back to Bryan ($25 entry fee) and;
• 5-mile and 10-mile round-trip rides ($10 entry fee).
Riders or interested parties who would like to honor and support someone with a cancer diagnosis or someone who has passed due to cancer can also sponsor signs with the honoree’s name on them.
The signs are placed along the first several miles of the route and it always creates a powerful reminder of the reason for the ride, and the important work that CAWC does, according to BTTB committee chairman Mike Kurivial.
“Everyone is pretty excited to get going, but during that initial stretch of the ride when everyone passes by those signs, it’s pretty solemn,” said Kurivial.
Entry fees cover the cost of the ride, which includes plenty of free refreshments. And several support vehicles — called SAGs, or “support and gear” — travel along the routes until 1 p.m. to assist riders with any issues, such as a flat tire, that riders might face.
Riders often secure fundraising pledges and BTTB is generously supported by a number of local corporate and business sponsors, Kurivial said.
Kurivial said as many as 70 riders have participated in past rides and he is hopeful that everyone who is tired of being cooped up due to the pandemic will come out and ride this year.
“I’d like to raise $25,000 this year. That’s optimistic but I’d like to think it can be reached,” he said.
The BTTB is the only fundraiser for CAWC, said Cheryl Andres, CAWC president. If BTTB raises $15,000, that makes up about 25% of CAWC’s annual expenses, with rest covered by grants and donations.
“It’s our only fundraiser and it’s so very important to help us carry out our mission of helping people cover those expenses that insurance doesn’t cover. Sometimes people need help with gas to get back and forth to their doctor appointments, so we help bridge those expense gaps that occur during cancer treatment.
“We cover transportation or whatever expenses or services ... needed by that particular person. It’s an amazing feeling to be able to help someone,” who needs help during what is generally a very trying time, Andres said.
She also added that BTTB also helps publicize CAWC and lets the community know that CAWC is a local resource that helps Williams County residents exclusively.
“Not a week goes by that someone calls us and says, ‘We didn’t know that (CAWC) was here.’ We’re here and we’re ready to help,” Andres said.
Cancer Assistance of Williams County is located at 1425 E. High St., Suite 110, Bryan. The phone number is 419-636-0079.