Nate Cline of Bloomington knows a thing or two about distance bicycling, all of it from secondhand experience.
His wife’s uncle hits the road each year for more than two weeks, pedaling 900 miles to raise money for Kids ‘n Kinship, a local nonprofit organization that provides mentoring relationships for children.
Cline, 34, is not much of a bicyclist, and he’s not up for two weeks of daily 60-mile bike rides, but he is one of several riders who will join along for a few legs of the Christian Elder Memorial 900, which departed Wednesday from Bloomington. The Memorial 900 is an annual ride that raised more than $33,000 for the Kinship program last year. The money came largely through donations raised by the participants. The ride leader, John Elder of Bloomington, will be making his eighth annual trek this year, and will be joined by a handful of riders along the way. The ride is named in memory of Elder’s son, who died unexpectedly at age 38 in 2007.
Most riders are like Cline, supporting a portion of the ride. Cline is preparing for the final week of the ride, and plans to join the group on June 2 in Rice Lake, Wis.
In preparation for his first long-distance bicycling trek, Cline ramped up his fitness regimen prior to the late arrival of spring. Since then he has been hitting the road when he can, preparing for something he has never done before: bicycling 60 miles in one day.
Cline was nominated by his wife to join her Uncle John’s annual ride, and will take a week of vacation from his job with a commercial roofing company to be a part of the final week of this year’s ride, which concludes 11 a.m. Saturday, June 8, at Merchants Bank of Apple Valley, an annual sponsor of the ride.
“This bike ride has created greater awareness in corporate circles through the team’s corporate sponsorships, and more people in general have learned about Kids ‘n Kinship than we would ever have had the possibility of reaching otherwise,” according to Jan Belmore, director of Kids ‘n Kinship.
Cline has no idea what to expect out on the road from day to day, having no distance bicycling experience to draw upon. He admits that his training rides “probably aren’t as much as they should be.”
Details about the ride, including reports from the road, are available online at cem900.com. This year’s route will cross northern Wisconsin.
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