HIBBING — Since 1993, hundreds of bicyclists have spread across Minnesota and the surrounding Midwest each year for Habitat for Humanity of Minnesota’s Habitat 500 Bike Ride.
The ride raises funds and awareness to help Habitat for Humanity build strength, stability, and self-reliance through shelter. This year’s 27th annual ride has been condensed to six days, from July 14 to July 19. The 500 miles start in Hermantown with other overnight stops in Hibbing and Aurora.
The Habitat 500 Bike Ride’s dedicated riders, volunteers, and local towns support housing opportunities locally and globally. In 2018 alone, the Habitat 500 raised more than $300,000. Those funds go towards creating a world where everyone has a decent and affordable place to live. When partnering with Habitat for Humanity, families build a future with increased financial stability and independence. A decent home provides homeowners the strength to create a better life and reach new education and employment opportunities. During the ride, Minnesotans, whether riders, volunteers, or locals, bolster their community’s success.
The ride makes its way to Hibbing on Monday, July 15. Riders will stay in the Hibbing High School or camp on the lawn. A series of loops mean that riders can hop on the road instead of packing up each morning, so they will return to the high school on Tuesday night as well. On Monday, the Lavell Town Hall will act as the third rest stop of the day, after riders have pedaled 58 miles.
Riders and volunteers appreciate the hospitality shown by communities who host overnights and rest stops as well as provide meals for the ride. For Mariah Peterson of Gilbert, who will be volunteering for her 10th year, the “people and their passion” are the best aspect of the Habitat 500. Brian Birk of Tower, who will be celebrating his 20th year riding this year, says the best part is “spending time with the riders, with the people who support the ride and people we come across along the way.” Riders such as Dave Oltmans are excited for the “beautiful scenery and challenging hills” of the Iron Range. Riders and volunteers also have the opportunity for hands-on building at the bike.home., which is a local Habitat for Humanity build site. Just as Habitat for Humanity supports communities through shelter, communities offer invaluable support for the bike ride. Such generosity furthers the number of affordable houses built each year.
The Habitat 500 Bike Ride brings together a love of biking with an appreciation for sharing strength and stability in the community. Dedicated rider Tim Dellett says, “I do all the pedaling myself, but I truly feel part of a larger team that is all working hard for the betterment of the world.” Or as Dave Oltmans puts it, “As for riding 500 miles, it is about the cause, not the miles.”
For more information on how to get involved, please visit www.habitat500.org.
About Habitat for Humanity of Minnesota
Habitat for Humanity of Minnesota, Inc. (Habitat Minnesota) is a statewide resource development and support organization that serves, advocates for and advances the work of Minnesota’s Habitat for Humanity affiliates who build simple, decent, affordable housing in partnership with people in need. Habitat Minnesota was created in October of 1997 by the Minnesota Habitat affiliates it serves for the initial purpose of applying for funding and providing funders with a single contact for the distribution of resources. Since that time, we have added a range of programs to support these affiliates. For more information, visit hfhmn.org.