The statewide collaboration continues as the Community Center Network announces Shore 2 Shore – a cross-state bike ride benefitting LGBT centers throughout Michigan.
The ride goes from Ferndale to Saugatuck, and takes place Sept 4-7. It is limited to 100 riders.
“Because it’s the first year of the event we want to keep it small so we can see if there are any challenges. Within five years I expect this to be the largest fundraiser for the LGBT community,” said Affirmations Executive Director Dave Garcia.
Garcia brought the idea to Michigan after hearing about the massive rides that take place in LA and New York for LGBT community centers there.
The idea is simple, but there is magic in the details. Multiple centers are involved, but Affirmations is fronting the cost, including the services of Event Coordinator Andi Greer. Breer’s job is to plan the route, establish safety mechanisms, find sponsors, create event communications and set up supports for the riders. One thing that will make the trip nice is that there will be one “camp concierge” for every ten riders.
“I wanted to hear from riders to see what they liked about other rides and what they didn’t like. The biggest complaint was at the end the stuff is ‘just dumped at the campground’ and they have to face finding their stuff, putting up their tents and creating their space,” she said.
“The whole focus of the camp concierge is making sure campers are happy and taken care of. The volunteers will go ahead of riders, setting up camp and making sure tents are set up so all they have to worry about is getting there and relaxing.”
The route is designed to be scenic, with plenty of places to stop and rest. Each leg of the ride is about 50 miles, leaving plenty of time for relaxing or for side trips. Along the way, sponsors like Whole Foods will provide snacks and liquids and there will be other sponsored surprises too.
The ride hits Ann Arbor the first night, Albion the second night, Kalamazoo the third night, and wraps up in Saugatuck the fourth night.
There is a $100 registration fee plus a $1,000 minimum commitment for fundraising. Volunteers are asked to raise at least $250. Riders can pledge to a specific center or have their donations go into the pool. The community centers will split the expenses equally and the revenue will be divided among the centers based on percentage of funds raised.
The participating centers are the Resource Center in Kalamazoo, the Jim Toy Center in Ann Arbor, KICK in Detroit, The Network in Grand Rapids, Perceptions in Saginaw and Affirmations in Ferndale. Though only Affirmations, Jim Toy, and The Resource Center are along the route, each center has a representative on the Shore 2 Shore committee and is expected to encourage riders from their home community.
The Community Center Network has accomplished a lot since it formed in 2012, coming together for the Gay Families Matter rally in Lansing. They also created the 100 Day Hungry 4 Equality Strike. Further collaborations like the Shore 2 Shore ride are expected as a crucial part of attaining equality in Michigan.
To find out more about the ride, visit the website at http://equalityride.dojiggy.com.