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Bike the Bend Cyclers Club

After-school program helps prepare youth for May 20 ride
Now there’s an another way for kids to get into the habit ofbiking for fun and into the spirit of Bike the Bend, the May 20 non-competitive recreational ridethrough the vehicle-restricted streets of South Bend, Mishawaka and St. Joseph County.

And it’s sponsored by Bike the Bend.

An after-school Bike the Bend Cyclers Clubs has been operating this spring at Swanson Primary Center, 17677 Parker Drive.The Swanson club is for students at the school.

“Swanson Primary is a model cycling club,” says Jeanne Blad, event director for Bike the Bend. “The group started with eight members and has grown to 16 in a few weeks.”

Wendy Folk, principal of the 430-student school in the South Bend Community School Corp., is riding with her students, who have also ridden with volunteers from the Notre Dame Cycling Team. Other volunteers include former SBCSC Superintendent James Kapsa and Bike the Bend founder Yatish Joshi.

The Cyclers program is supported by the Reducing Obesity Coalition and Notre Dame Cycling Team and in cooperation of the South Bend Community School Corporation.

“The intention is to encourage biking for fun and exercise while keeping safety in mind,” Blad said. “Participants learn and follow the basic safety principles of biking and participate in activities designed to build skills and promote the healthy fun of bicycling.”

Founded in 2010, Bike the Bend is the vision of Louise E. Addicott, who loved the idea of families and friends being able to ride side-by-side at their own pace, enjoying their community and time spent together.

While Bike the Bend is supported by The Louise E. Addicott and Georgina Joshi Foundation and other local sponsors, Bike the Bend has been embraced by all aspects of the community. And just as Bike the Bend is not yet self-sufficient, organizers of the Bike the Bend Cyclers Clubs have sought grants to help fund the clubs, including providing bicycle helmets to children who cannot afford them.

“This is an after school program to encourage children to ride their bikes just like in the good old days,” says Glenda Lamont, Bike the Bend co-founder. “We’re focusing on the fun part of riding and skill building with a little bit of safety mixed in.”

More than 1,100 bicyclists already are pre-registered for Bike the Bend on Sunday, May 20. Organizers are expecting 2,700 bicyclists from Indiana and surrounding states will ride at least a portion of this year’s 35-mile round trip. The route winds along the St. Joseph River from St. Patrick’s County Park to Monkey Island in Mishawaka’s Eberhart-Petro Golf Course.

Online registration continues for Bike the Bend through May 16 (www.BiketheBend.com). Same-day registration also is available at any of the SAG (support and guidance) locations.

Bicycle helmets are required for all participants.

Packet pickup is from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, May 19, at Coveleski Stadium, 501 W. South St. The day will feature roller riding demonstrations and races by the Spin Zone Cycling Team, bike riding skills clinic and bicycle safety and repair by Spin Zone personnel.The Michiana Ultimate Frisbee League will be on hand and along with displays by local bicycling groups.

It is the goal of Bike the Bend that any excess profits from the bike ride be reinvested in the community to maintain, enhance and improve bicycling opportunities.For more details, visit www.BiketheBend.com or call (574) 204-2458.

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