Yikes! Bikes! raises over $10K for Habitat for Humanity
by Gail DeBoer- Staff writer
For the eighth year, the Yikes! Bikes! fundraising bike ride to benefit Habitat for Humanity (HFH) went off without a hitch Saturday on trails and side roads in the Walker-Laporte area.
This year about 230 cyclists tackled the 18-, 40- and 60-mile routes and raised more than $10,000 after expenses; about the same as last year, when more riders took part
Proceeds will be used by HFH’s Lakes Area Affiliate to build affordable housing in the Walker area for a local family. “We are very thankful for everyone who came,” said Rollie Haugen Monday. Haugen and Margie Richardson are the Yikes! Bikes! coordinators.
”Looking at the registrations, I only saw a handful of local riders. Most come from out of our area for the day or for the weekend. Yikes! Bikes! is another event that brings people to Walker, and that’s one of its main values, in addition to benefiting Habitat.”
Yikes! Bikes! offers riders a choice of an 18-mile distance (nine miles out and back on the Heartland Trail), a 40-mile loop on the trail and lightly-traveled roads in the Benedict-Laporte area; or that route plus the Mi-Gi-Zhi Trail at Cass Lake for a 60-mile total.
Haugen said the 40-mile distance remains the most popular, although more than 40 people tackled the longer 60-mile distance.
Despite an early drizzle, she described Saturday’s weather as nearly perfect for biking.
“Riders don’t mind the drizzle,” she explained. “A couple of people also saw deer on the trail, and that made them happy.”
As in the past, comments from Yikes! Bikes! riders were universally positive. Haugen noted that the event attracts many repeat riders who put it on their annual schedules.
“Thank you for another wonderfully-organized Yikes! Bikes!” one person said in an e-mail Monday to Haugen and Richardson.
“You do a great job of making it a celebration, as well as a fundraiser for Habitat for Humanity.”
A faithful cadre of about 70 volunteers is responsible for handling the Yikes! Bikes! logistics. They handle registration, rest stops, food, entertainment, the Sag Wagon and other critical components.
And like the Yikes! Bikes! riders who come back, year after year, most volunteers are veterans who have worked on most, if not all of the seven previous events.