Circles on a Mission: Second-annual charity bike ride rolls this Saturday in DeRidder

First United Methodist Church of DeRidder is hosting the second annual Circles on a Mission bicycle ride this Saturday, May 18.

The bike ride benefits the Methodist Children’s Home of Southwest Louisiana in Sulphur. Methodist Children’s Home of SWLA is a residential home that cares for children with severe emotional needs that require intensive, and expensive, therapy, said FUMC DeRidder member Susan Hill.

She said that the church often donates to the facility.

“We want the staff to be equipped with the best facilites, the best equipment, the best resources, so that they can help our children heal.”

The Circles on a Mission bicycle ride was introduced to the community last year, and is the result of combining the church’s two women’s groups — the Mary Martha Circle and the Rosemary Cady Circle — that are referred to as “Circles” and use of small bicycle rides to raise money. Hill said that hosting the first fundraising event of this size last year was uncharted territory, but the members were motivated.

“We had put tons of hours into deciding where our routes would go, where the snack stops could be and we always wanted safety to be a priority. We were all rookies, but we put our faith into action, and we succeeded last year.”

Wheels will hit the ground at 8 a.m. on Saturday at FUMC DeRidder, 406 Shirley St. Check-in begins an hour prior at 7 a.m. Registrations will be accepted at this time. Complimentary coffee, water and fresh fruit will be available before the rides.

There are four route options. There will be an 8-mile family and beginner-friendly route which will “skirt the outside of town, then zigzag back to the church.” Registration for this route is $20.

A 20 mile ride on a variety or rural backroads, highway and city streets is also an option for $40.

“This is for the rider who feels confident on their bicycle, and has experience with traffic,” she said.

The most intense ride is a 50-mile route of mostly highways. This is designed for riders with plenty of experience and “like a challenging morning on the saddle.” There is also an option to extend this ride by 13 miles. This option is also $40.

FUMC DeRidder is also offered a one mile guided walking tour of historical downtown Deridder, highlighting “The Hanging Jail” the Beauregard Museum, the Grand Courthouse, the Doll Museum and other buildings.

All routes will have vehicle support, and most snack stops along each route will have restrooms.

Back at the church, there will be “music, fellowship and some really nice door prizes.” Red beans, sausage and rice, sandwiches, bread pudding, vegan pasta and other food available for participants.

Safety is a priority, she said. Every participant is required to wear a helmet, abide by laws, use bicycle lights and be cautious during rides.

To sign up, visit https://www.bikesignup.com/race/la/deridder/circlesonamissionbicycleride.

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