Riding for Home, riding for affordable homeownership
On Saturday, July 21, I awoke to the sound of thunder and heavy rain. Yuck! I would probably have had this reaction on any rainy summer Saturday, but this was an especially important day – the day of the Ride for Home. I was supposed to meet 150 other cyclists to ride 40 miles to raise money to help hard working, low-income families achieve their dreams of homeownership.
After a brief delay to check the forecast, I set off across from my home in Woodbury to St. Louis Park where the ride was to begin. I wasn’t really planning to ride because of the rain, but I went to be part of the team anyway.
When I arrived, I found a surprisingly large crowd of riders waiting under a tent on very muddy ground for the thunder and lightning to stop so they could head out on the ride. About 8:30, the storm did ease up and to my amazement; the crowd went out in the rain, mounted their bikes and started off. I certainly wasn’t going to be the only one not to ride, so despite not being thrilled about riding in the rain, I too headed out on the trail.
As I rode along greeting other riders on the route, the resiliency and determination of the riders reminded me of the tenacity of Habitat homebuyers—many of whom have overcome tremendous obstacles to make a better life for their children. By the time most families apply for Habitat homeownership, they have endured greater hardships than I can imagine. By building and buying a Habitat house with a mortgage they can afford, they are achieving something many of us take for granted—a stable place to build family, be part of a community, improve health and increase educational and career achievements.
I am grateful to all the people who chose to spend their Saturday morning riding for home—and reminding me of how important the work of Habitat is to our partner families—and to all of us who are part of the Twin Cities community.
Thank you to all the participants in our first-ever Ride for Home! Through registration fees and rider fundraising, we exceed our goal and raised more than $16,000 for affordable housing in the Twin Cities! More than 130 riders braved the rain, thunder, lightning and heat on Saturday, embarking on either our 40-mile route or short Family Route. At the end of the Ride, we joined together with returning riders of the Habitat 500 Bike Ride and our homeowner families for a fun afternoon picnic to celebrate 2,000 Habitat homes in Minnesota! Thanks to our in-kind donors Sugar Love Bakery and General Mills for supplying treats and snacks for our hungry riders, and to Carol Engebretson and Randy’s Sanitation for helping to make the Ride for Home a Zero-Waste Event!
By Nancy Brady, Vice President of Resource Development and Alison Becker, Event Planner