Rutherford Housing Partnership is hosting its 9th annual Gears & Gables cycling ride May 6 in conjunction with downtown Rutherfordton's MayFest celebration. The nonprofit organization provides urgent home repairs for families in need. RHP provides materials; volunteers provide labor.
This year's ride includes three routes, including a 24-mile route for those who want to ease back into the cycling season. The ride begins at 8 a.m. in downtown Rutherfordton at First Baptist Church and also will end there.
Participants can expect scenic, backcountry roads and three moderately hilly routes - 24, 41 and 62 miles - with at least 13 Strava segments identified and ascents of 1,332 feet, 2,018 feet and 3,576, respectively. Routes are available on Connect.Garmin.com or Strava.com.
Gears & Gables is a fully-supported ride, with SAG support, on-road marked routes, four rest stops and a post-ride meal. Riders need bikes that have been recently serviced and are in good working condition. RHP requests riders wear identification, such as Road ID bracelets, if available, and helmets at all times. RHP also requests that riders refrain from using ear buds or headphones while riding.
Registration is $30 per person. Sign up before April 26 to guarantee a free T-shirt; all others will receive T-shirts while they last.
Proceeds help those in need in Rutherford County, said Nell Perry Bovender, RHP executive director. "RHP provided urgently needed repairs for 117 families in 2016, and our waiting list still has 100 families needing help," said Bovender. "Gears & Gables helps us raise the money to get those needs met."
Sponsorships are also available for businesses or individuals who want to help raise funds for the local nonprofit. Lead sponsor is Moose Ventures of Forest City.
For more information, visit the Rutherford Housing Partnership web site at www.RutherfordHousingPartnership.com or the Gears & Gables Cycling Event Facebook page. For questions about the ride, contact Alan Herrick at firstname.lastname@example.org. To sponsor, volunteer or register to ride, call the RHP office at (828) 248-3431 or email info@RutherfordHousingPartnership.com.
RHP was organized in 1995 by a group of concerned citizens who recognized a growing need among low-income, elderly and disabled homeowners for urgent home repairs to alleviate threats to their health and safety. Statistics tell a sobering story of a low-wealth county in need of safe housing. Rutherford County is a large, rural county of about 66,000 where most recent Census data show that 19% of families live below the poverty level.
Its most famous volunteers, the Women Roofers, received national attention in People magazine in 2013, and on CBS Evening News and NBC Nightly News.