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Habitat 500 Bike Ride to make stop in Brainerd lakes area

For over a quarter-century, Habitat for Humanity of Minnesota's Habitat 500 Bike Ride has sent cyclists across Minnesota, biking 500 miles to raise funds and awareness to help Habitat for Humanity build strength, stability and self-reliance throu...

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For over a quarter-century, Habitat for Humanity of Minnesota's Habitat 500 Bike Ride has sent cyclists across Minnesota, biking 500 miles to raise funds and awareness to help Habitat for Humanity build strength, stability and self-reliance through shelter.

This year marks the 26th anniversary of the ride, which runs July 15-21. Cyclists will begin in Becker with overnight stops in Royalton, Alexandria, Staples and Pierz, before returning to Becker.

According to a news release, since Habitat Minnesota took over coordination of the ride in 2002, the Habitat 500 Bike Ride has raised nearly $5 million to support Habitat for Humanity home construction. The ride has contributed to Minnesota's local Habitat for Humanity offices building 2,500 homes with families across the state.

"Every rider, every donation and every home is a bold action taken towards a world where everyone has a decent and affordable place to live," the release stated. "Habitat homes help families build financial stability, invest in education and reach new education and employment opportunities. Such success would not have been possible without the dedication and support of the riders, volunteers and local towns."

July 20, the sixth day of the ride, will take riders through the Brainerd area. Riders will stop at Fairview Township Hall between 7:30 and 9:30 a.m. to eat and rest. Twenty miles later, riders will arrive in Brainerd and stop at the Lakes Area Habitat ReStore between 9 a.m. and noon. After biking 55 miles so far that day, bikers will stop at Riverside Union Church in St. Mathias between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. before spending the night in Pierz.

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"Each of the communities that the ride passes through becomes part of the common goal of helping someone else," said longtime volunteers Susan and Walter Baker, in the release. "The churches that host the group for breakfast or dinner; the schools that open their doors to house the group; and the local town's restaurants, Dairy Queens, or coffee shops all end up having an impact on and awareness of Habitat for Humanity homes."

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