By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes
Keizer Rotary is sponsoring a family bike ride Sunday, June 29, that will double as a fundraiser to end polio.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is matching all money raised 2:1 as part of its efforts to fund polio research and get vaccination programs into countries without them. That means the $25 registration fee translates into $75 worth of research and vaccinations.
“We thought long and hard about how we wanted to run it, and we didn’t want people who want to do the ride to have to go out and fundraise independently,” said Hersch Sangster, co-coordinator of the ride with Chuck Fisher.
Additional donations to the cause are welcomed, but not required. The goal of the inaugural ride is $1,000 before the Gates Foundation match.
About 1,000 people are diagnosed with polio each year. Earlier this year, doctors in California diagnosed about 25 children with a form of the disease that attacks motor neurons and can cause flaccid paralysis.
Participants will have their choice of two routes. One is a family-friendly 12-mile loop to Mission Bottom. The second is a 40-mile loop that will take riders to Mt. Angel’s Fisher Park. Both rides start at Volcanoes Stadium where day-of registration will be available from 8 to 9:30 a.m. Registration forms can also be downloaded, and maps of the routes viewed, at keizerrotary.org, or picked up in local cycle shops. Sangster and Fisher are still in need of a bike mechanic to do checks and minor repairs at the starting line.
Sangster recommends attempting the 40-mile route only if the rider has traveled at least 20 miles in a day on his or her bike.
“We will have SAG (support and gear) vehicles, and I’m going to be the back-up. If somebody can’t make it, we’ll be able to pick them up,” Sangster said.
Both routes include some minor inclines, but nothing that should keep people from giving it a shot.
More than 40 riders are already registered.
Riders must wear helmets that meet Consumer Product Safety Commission Standards to take part in either ride. A spare tube, air pump, repair tools and at least one water bottle are recommended.
Sangster welcomed individuals looking to engage in friendly competition, but the ride itself is not a race.
“Our whole goal and purpose is a good, fun ride,” Sangster said.
Tandem bikes and trailers towing young ones are also allowed.