Tour de Saints raises money, food for ministry

The second annual Tour de Saints, a noncompetitive bicycle ride hosted by All Saints’ Episcopal Church in Concord, was even more successful than last year’s event.

The Aug. 23 ride attracted more cyclists and donations for Cooperative Christian Ministry.

Riders who didn’t want to pedal in the untimed rides of 50K (about 31 miles) or 100K (62 miles) could participate in the 10-mile family fun ride.

Jackie Whitfield, 63, of Concord rode in the family fun ride with her granddaughter, 8-year-old Kate Anderson.

Whitfield’s daughter, Michelle Anderson, was riding in the 50K, so Whitfield wanted to ride with Kate to keep her company and complete three generations of riders participating in the tour.

“My daughter, who now lives in Raleigh, attended this church as a child, and we thought this would be a fun thing to do,” said Whitfield.

Ed Hosack, executive director of Cooperative Christian Ministry, received a check from the organizers for $5,000, representing the proceeds from last year’s event, before this year’s 192 riders took to the streets of Cabarrus and Rowan counties.

Each rider was asked to donate $30 and one can of food as their entry fee. That raised more than $7,500 and 550 pounds of food for Cooperative Christian Ministry.

Since 2013 was the first year for the event, church member Elizabeth Simpson said, the church held the money from that ride until this year to make sure it had enough seed money to stage the 2014 event.

Besides the 70 volunteers at All Saints’ church, other organizations pitched in to help make the tour a success. Cabarrus County Sheriff’s deputies and Concord police officers helped with traffic control, while Cabarrus County EMS was on hand for any medical emergencies.

Rest stops were provided by St. John’s Lutheran Church in Mount Pleasant, First Baptist Church in Mount Pleasant and Organ Lutheran Church in Salisbury. Boy Scout Troop 3 of First Presbyterian Church in Concord, Boy Scout Troop 91 of St. James Lutheran Church in Concord and Girl Scout Troop 1129 of St. Stephen’s Lutheran Church in Gold Hill also hosted rest stops.

Casual riders were mixed in with serious ones, including cycling teams from Brevard and Lees-McRae colleges. But it was all for fun and to raise money for a worthy cause.

Concord residents Ricky Allred and Wallace Readling, riding in the event for the first time, were the first to complete the 50K route.

“We enjoy cycling, but it is nice to get together for a worthy cause,” Allred said.

Readling said, “They were good roads on this route. It is always nicer to get out there with other cyclists on the road, because the cars pay more attention to us than when we ride alone.”

Upon completing their ride, each cyclist was treated to a hot lunch and cold ice cream to thank them for their participation.