With only a couple weeks before Bike Week takes over the headlines at the Daytona International Speedway, the Bobby Labonte Foundation invites bicyclists to saddle up for safety for a third year in a row. The foundation and its founder, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Bobby Labonte, will host the third annual Archdale Drug "Share the Road" Memorial Bike Ride on Sunday, May 19, in Trinity, N.C.
Although this ride doesn't necessarily tie in with the activities of thousands of bikers on Harleys, crotch rockets, and specially prepared motorcycles, it does benefit a great cause. Plus, it saves tons of money on gas!
The ride will benefit the Bikes Belong Foundation, which raises awareness and funds for cycling safety and children's bicycle programs. It will also support Communities In Schools of Randolph County Backpack Pals Program, which provides nutritional meals for schoolchildren on weekends.
The event will consist of three different routes with various distances of 50, 70 and 100 kilometers through the rolling hills of Randolph County. The ride will feature live timing and scoring. The challenging courses were mapped by a USA Cycling-sanctioned team member and include routes for both recreational and experienced cyclists. Labonte, an avid cyclist, will ride on the 100-kilometer (63.5-mile) course. Cyclists can register now at www.bobbylabontefoundation.org/events.
Registration will open at 11 a.m. and the ride will begin at 1 p.m., starting and finishing at Wheatmore High School in Trinity, N.C. The pre-registration cost is $25 for a member of a team of eight and $30 for an individual rider. Registration will be available the day of the event based on availability for $35. The first 300 registered cyclists will receive gift bags.
The memorial ride was born after two cyclists were killed while riding in the Charlotte and Greensboro, N.C., regions in 2010 and 2011.
"Awareness of cyclers on the road is improving, but unfortunately we're still hearing stories on the news of people being hurt or killed while riding their bikes," said Bobby Labonte, founder of the foundation with his wife, Donna. "Getting people together every year for this event not only provides a striking visual reminder to be mindful of bikers on the road, but it also helps raise funds for Bikes Belong, which will work to raise awareness across the country long after the memorial ride is over."
The Bobby Labonte Foundation is also using the memorial ride to further its mission to give back to children in need in the local community. The event will help support Communities In Schools of Randolph County Backpack Pals Program, which meets the needs of hungry elementary students by sending home a backpack of nutritious, non-perishable, child-friendly food each Friday. Riders, spectators and fans will be encouraged to bring an essential item such as canned meat items, juice boxes, cereal bars, fruit cups, crackers and pudding cups to donate to the program.
"CIS of Randolph County is excited that the Bobby Labonte Foundation has chosen our Backpack Pals Program as one of the recipients of the ride again this year," said Sandi Norman, executive director of CIS of Randolph County. "This program is something that the entire community has embraced as no one wants to think of a child going hungry. Yet, hunger among children is a reality especially during these tough economic times. The program does more than fill an empty stomach; it also lets these children know that someone in the community cares about them and their future."
In only its third year, the Share the Road Memorial Ride continues to have tremendous support from local and national sponsors whose support will benefit the two causes. Locally, Archdale Drug has continued its title sponsorship of the event. Additional sponsors include Trinity Furniture, CLIF bar and more to be announced later.
"The foundation is always working to help support kids, but a few years ago we felt the need to also do something special for cycling safety, especially with Bobby being an avid biker," said Donna Labonte. "This ride works to help both causes, and we're very grateful to our sponsors for helping to make it a success."
Pre-registration for the events end on May 17.
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