More than 700 people, and their bikes, were up bright and early Saturday ready to pedal in the 11th annual Tour de Frederick bike ride for charity.
The tour consisted of four different rides, all beginning and ending at the Walkersville Volunteer Fire Hall, that covered more than 200 miles in Frederick County and Gettysburg.
A fourth ride, Frederick History Ride, is scheduled for Sunday.
The event had a goal to raise $150,000 for two different organizations, The Boys and Girls Club of Frederick County and the Rotary Club of Carroll Creek. As of Saturday afternoon, $127,628 was raised through registration fees and donations from riders. The event also brought in an additional $64,000 from sponsors, according to Kelly Jarvis, director of Tour de Frederick.
The funds will be split evenly between both organizations.
“They then take their part and disseminate it across the whole community to different service projects,” Jarvis said of the rotary club. “It all goes back into the community in a variety of ways.”
The Boys and Girls Club recently opened a new location on Madison Street and will be opening another location in Emmitsburg this fall, according to Sarah Lynn, director of development for the Boys and Girls Club.
The funds will go towards helping the club operate and to expand further into the county.
“It’s just huge,” Lynn said. “You feel the love from all the riders [throughout] the whole year. It’s not just at Tour de Frederick. They’re our partners, our donors and our friends. They’re our community members, so it’s great to see them be involved with Boys and Girls Club.
“To raise so much money from one event is overwhelming,” Jarvis said.
“To have witnessed how, not only the business community, but the riding community have come around for this event for our beneficiaries is blowing my mind,” she said. “We’re on pace to have our best year yet.”
The cyclist were excited to ride and raise money for the community as well.
Emmitsburg resident Shawn Blumenfeld started riding when he was four years old and never stopped.
Along with participating in the ride for the third year, he was leading the family ride for the second year in a row.
He rides because there’s a freedom to biking, but he enjoys every aspect of it.
“I like doing big group rides,” he said. “You get to see other people riding, and I like leading the short family rides for those riders who need the most help from an experienced rider.”
He always tries to bike the same amount of miles each year at the event and joked that he’s trying to get faster at 50 years old.
“I love the outdoors,” he said. “Every time I’m out on the bike I know I’m conquering the road, and that’s what drives me every day to get on that bicycle.
“There’s this sensation with going forward under your own power,” he added.
The event didn’t just bring out veteran riders but cyclist new to the event as well, like Donna Spencer of Annapolis.
The 72-year-old decided to ride after a friend invited her to participate. While she was new to Tour de Frederick, she’s been biking since she was a child.
“I’m just a little nervous,” she said with a smile. “But I love biking so it’s going to be a great day.”