Hope takes to the highway with May 31 ride
Bikers, get ready to rev your engines and raise some cash.
And a bit of advice: Be prepared to turn.
The Hope on Wheels charity motorcycle ride will take a winding, scenic roll through the region on May 31 to help raise money to assist cancer patients with financial needs.
Organized by the Mountain States Foundation, all proceeds go to Mountain States Cancer Care patients. Proceeds will provide assistance to pediatric and adult cancer patients undergoing cancer treatments by providing for needs insurance may not cover.
“We hand out gas cards, help people pay the co-pays for their medications,” said event coordinator Jeff Clinebell. “Whatever items their insurance doesn’t cover.” Clinebell said cancer patients sometimes must travel long distances or make frequent trips to receive treatments, so help with things such as fuel costs or lodging can be a big help.
The course starts out on the straight-and-not-so-narrow, taking riders from the Market Street Centre in Johnson City into Elizabethton.
Then the course takes a turn – up Highway 91 through the Stoney Creek community. From Stoney Creek, riders will continue up Highway 91 to Shady Valley, before turning west on U.S. Highway 421 toward Bristol – tackling a section of “The Snake,” the nickname for U.S. 421 between Mountain City and Bristol – before returning to Johnson City through Bluff City and Piney Flats.
Riders will then return to the Market Street Centre, where donated door prizes will be awarded.
The course covers 77 miles, and will take riders over two mountains, across South Holston Lake and past Bristol Motor Speedway.
“People come from all across our region to support this ride, partly because the ride itself is always so much fun, and partly because they truly see the need for supporting this program,” said Karen Clark, director of fund development at Mountain States Foundation, in the announcement for the event. “This helps people at their time of greatest need. When someone is coping with cancer, not only do they have emotional challenges to face, but they have financial challenges as well. This provides assistance on the financial end so those patients can focus on getting better.”
This is the sixth year for Hope on Wheels, and according to Clinebell, it draws an average of 50 bikes a year. He said in years past, the event has raised an average of between $9,000 and $10,000 to help local cancer patients.
“This will be our first year doing a poker run,” Clinebell said. “We will have four stops along the route.”
Registration for the event is from 8:30 to 9:45 a.m. on the day of the ride at the Market Street Centre in Johnson City, the starting and stopping point for the ride. The Market Street Centre is at 1106 W. Market St.
“We will allow everyone to pull out at 10 a.m., but then they can ride at their own pace from stop to stop,” Clinebell said.
The cost to register is $20 per bike, which can be paid at registration on the day of the ride. Breakfast and lunch donated by local vendors will be available for purchase at the Market Street Centre before and after the ride. Door prizes will be awarded at 1 p.m. There will also be a free T-shirt for each motorcycle registered, and additional T-shirts will be available for purchase at a cost of $10 each. A rain date of June 7 has been set for the ride.
For those wishing to help the fund but not interested in the ride, on Tuesday, May 27, from 4 p.m. until closing, Buffalo Wild Wings in Johnson City will donate 15 percent of the bill from all customers who tell their server that they are there for the Hope on Wheels fundraiser.
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