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Groups of bicyclists rode out from Kutztown Park last weekend to lend a helping hand, or more likely, a helping bike pedal.
To help those in need, 105 bicyclists rode in the third annual Brake the Cycle of Poverty bike ride on Aug. 11.
“It was a good day for a good cause,” said Sandra Wise, executive director of Friend, Inc.
Sponsored by Friend, Inc. Community Services, a Kutztown-based non-profit social service agency serving individuals and families in Northeastern Berks County, proceeds benefit Friend programs, which include a food pantry, information and referral to other human service agencies, Money Management and Career Link, and Christmas Cheer.
“Brake the Cycle bike ride was created to bring awareness to poverty in Northeastern Berks and to serve as a fundraiser for Friend, Inc. Community Services,” said Wise. “Poverty in the rural community is as prevalent as it is in the urban setting. With the economy being what it is, there is an increasing need for our services.”
Event coordinator Kevin Claypoole created Brake the Cycle several years ago, having an interest in biking, combined with prior knowledge in both volunteer work and event planning. Biking to get in shape for ski season, he is a member of Flying Dutchmen Ski Club who often mountain bikes.
“People that have done (Brake the Cycle bike ride) in the past have always enjoyed the ride. It’s a fun event,” said Claypoole.
“It was a great day. All of the riders were enthusiastic. Everybody enjoyed themselves,” said Wise.
Cyclists had a choice of three different bike routes: 10 miles, 25 miles or a 33-mile course, all of which started at Kutztown Park and led riders throughout the Kutztown area. There were rest stops along the way. Volunteers, like Bill and Dolly Fox, offered water and fresh fruit to riders.
“It turned out to be a beautiful day. Everybody was enthusiastic about the event,” said Wise.
This was the first Brake the Cycle ride for Wise, having recently joined Friend Inc. as executive director this year. Her favorite part of the event was being able to meet the riders and talk with them, seeing them support Friend and enjoying the day. There was a wide range of biking enthusiasts, from youth to older riders, but not necessarily professional riders, some were simply enjoying a day with family.
“It was really neat to see everybody come together, having a good time,” said Wise.
Friend, Inc. Community Services is located at 658D Noble St., Kutztown. For more information about Friend, visit http://friendinc.org/.