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Sunday, March 04, 2007

Rides for a good cause

As the weather slowly warms up and thoughts of great bike rides go through our heads, I'd thought I'd spread the word about these rides that raise money for worthwhile charities:

Tour de Grape: There's still plenty of openings for the first-ever Tour de Grape bicycle tour May 12-13 in Farmington/Ste. Genevieve, Mo. The ride is a major fund-raiser for HavenHouse St. Louis, which provides lodging for the families of children receiving treatment at St. Louis-area hospitals. Both days have routes of about 45 and 60 miles. Day One takes you through the scenic country around Farmington and Fredericktown, while Day Two takes you into the historic French Colonial region around Ste. Genevieve and Randolph County, Ill. The cost of the ride is $25, plus $250 in pledges.

Beautiful Southern Ride: This ride, a fund-raiser for the Carbondale Boys and Girls Club, will travel over hill and dale past the lakes, wineries, and orchards of Southern Illinois, through the Shawnee National Forest and the Southern Illinois University campus. Routes of 15, 30 and 63 miles are available. For more information, visit the ride's Web site.

Tour de Cure: Join hundreds of cyclists for the 16th Annual St. Louis Area Tour de Cure at the Raging Rivers Water Park on June 9 in Grafton, Ill. This scenic bicycle tour will take you along the Great River Road in rural Illinois. Cyclists will have their choice of a 20-, 50- or 100-mile route. For more information, visit the ride's Web site.

Ride to Cure Diabetes: On Wednesday, I had the chance to meet Emily Rapp, the St. Louis-area coordinator for the Ride to Cure Diabetes, which raises money for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. The ride actually is a series of events in scenic locations such as Carmel, Calif., Whitefish, Mont., and Asheville, N.C. The cost of the event is $100, plus at least $4,000 in donations. That sounds steep, but people who reach their goal receive round-trip airfare to the ride location, three nights of hotel accommodations and other perks.

If you have know of any other charitable rides that are worthy of mention, please feel free to do so in the comments section.

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