Ride for Unity: An evening of biking through scenic Central Minnesota

Among the participants for the 2011 Ride for Unity were (from left:) Diana, Dave and Marie Jendro. Dave and Marie enjoy making the trek on their tandem bicycle.

Bicyclists of all ages are invited to participate in the 16th annual “Ride for Unity” bicycle tour through Central Minnesota Friday, May 18. The scenic ride, which is being held this year as part of the Healthy Communities Collaborative Rock ‘n Run event, is sponsored by St. Gabriel’s Hospital Auxiliary with all proceeds supporting the auxiliary activities such as hospital department items that make significant enhancements to patient care and safety.

The bicycle tour will begin from the Le Bourget Park on the west side of the Mississippi River in Little Falls with registration starting at 5 p.m. This year, riders have two route choices – Loop One is a 10-mile trek south along the Mississippi River and back; and Loop Two is an 18-mile trip heading northwest along the Mississippi River to Green Prairie Fish Lake before returning to Le Bourget Park

Loop Two will include a rest stop, complete with fresh fruit, snacks and drinks to help keep riders energized along the way. Both routes will be patrolled by Support and Gear (SAG) vehicles and bicycles to ensure rider safety.

The entry fee is $20 per rider for early registration (by April 30) and $25 thereafter. Bicyclists also can save on registration fees by registering as a team. Team registration is $15 per rider with a minimum of eight riders. Teams must register and pay together, either in advance or on the day of the event, in order to receive the discount. Another way to save is by registering as a family for entry fee of $65, which includes four registrations and T-shirts. The family discount is a $15 savings off the early registration and $35 off the regular registration fee. Children ages 9 and under pay only $10, when accompanied by a paid adult registration.

Pre-registered riders will receive a free “Rock ‘n Run/Ride for Unity” T-shirt. Unfortunately, T-shirts cannot be guaranteed for participants registering after April 30, but will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis.

Registration forms are available at various locations including St. Gabriel’s Hospital Auxiliary Gift Shop, Little Falls Chamber, Little Falls Convention and Visitors Bureau, West Side Recreation, Pap’s Sports Shop and online at the St. Gabriel’s Hospital Web site, www.stgabriels.com (click on the Ride for Unity logo at the bottom of the page).

St. Gabriel’s Hospital Auxiliary appreciates all the community support for this fundraiser. People unable to participate as riders are asked to consider supporting the event by providing a monetary gift to the St. Gabriel’s Hospital Auxiliary or by letting family and friends know about the 2012 Ride for Unity. Support is most appreciated.