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Bikers to pedal through area


Dedicated riders on a mission to end poverty in U.S., around the globe



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August 13, 2008
TRI-CITY AREA — More than 200 cyclists from across the country are pedaling the 'Sea to Sea 2008 Bike Tour,' one of the largest bicycle tours to cross the lower 48 states and parts of Canada. On Tuesday, August 19, the group will pass through the Tri-City area.

Organized by the Christian Reformed Church of North America, the nine-week trek began June 30 in Seattle, Washington and aims to finish in Jersey City, New Jersey on August 30. That amounts to more than 3,800 miles.

Sometime during Tuesday more than 100 cyclists will be seen traveling east on Dryden Rd. enroute to Richmond. According to Jack Hoeksema, member of the Imlay City Christian Reformed Church, they'll then head south down M-53 to Ebeling Rd. His son-in-law, Chris Mulder, will be one of several participants to join the group in Grand Rapids, MI.

"So far, it's been quite a success. They wanted to raise $1.5 million but along the way in their stops in the Midwest the people were so interested in this that they took up offerings," Hoeksema said.

"They've passed the $2 million mark."

The tour aims to raise awareness for and generate funds for people living in poverty in North America and around the world. They're partnering in this effort with Reformed Church in America and agencies like the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee, Christian Reformed World Missions, and Partners Worldwide funding programs in job creation, education and health services.

"Poverty is a big issue and it takes something big like this tour to draw attention to it," says Rev. Len Riemersma, a tour organizer from Willard, Ohio.

"We serve a big God who is calling us to offer His hope to people in what often seems like hopeless situations."

Sea to Sea cyclists have committed to raising $10,000 each, (other cyclists are raising $4,000 each per stage). Donations to individual cyclists or to the tour in general can be made online at www.SeatoSea.org or by calling 1-888-CRC-BIKE.

More than 125 of the participants are set to bike the entire 3,881-mile distance while another 90 are participating for at least a two-week portion of the route.

Most of the participants are members of the Christian Reformed Church, a protestant, evangelical denomination with about 275,000 members in 1,000 churches in the United States and Canada. The church's bi-nationality prompted organizers to design a route that would include traveling through a part of Canada, passing through cities that were not included in the 2005 tour.

The CRC was established in 1857 in Holland, Michigan and celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2007.

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