New record number of cyclists take part in education fundraiser

Dodging one of the rainiest springs in memory, this year’s CHaFE 150 riders enjoyed brilliant blue skies as they cycled through Montana and Idaho for the fourth annual one-day event to benefit the early childhood education efforts in Bonner County. All told for the June 4 ride, there were 217 registered cyclists – marking a 10 percent increase over last year.

2011 CHaFE 150 by the numbers:
Riders registered: 217
Riders who rode: 195
Riders in the full CHaFE (150 miles): 115
Riders in the 1/2 CHaFE (80 miles): 85
Youngest rider: Paul Meyer of Sandpoint, 16
Oldest rider: Dan Earle of Hope, 70
First finish time: Shortly after 1 p.m. (a 1/2 CHaFE rider)
Last finish time: About 7:30 p.m. (a full CHaFE 150 rider)

Riders who participated in the full 150-mile loop ride started and ended in Sandpoint, while the 80-mile 1/2 CHaFE riders departed from Troy, Mont., to finish in Sandpoint.

As in previous years, riders shared their enthusiasm for the well-orchestrated event.

“This was the friendliest, most fun ride I’ve ever done,” said Michelle Musia, a rider from Lewiston. Levi Hoch of Kalispel, Mont., went further: “Amazing ride! Probably one of the most beautiful stretches of pavement in the country. Very well organized, riders were treated like royalty. A must do.” Added local rider Terry McLeod of Sagle “the cause is the best part of the ride.”

In addition to the volunteers, which included nurses, drivers, mechanics and others who were stationed along the route, a generous list of businesses donated time, energy and funding to make the CHaFE 150 ride a first-class affair.

“The feedback on the ride has been just about 100 percent positive – for everything from the route and scenery to the perfect weather to our amazing volunteers who handle support and the break stops,” said event director Geraldine Lewis. “Really, I can’t say enough about our volunteers. We couldn’t do it without them.”

Riders in the CHaFE collect pledges and donations that go to the early childhood education cause. Riders are still turning in their collections so final figures are pending, but Lewis said the group anticipates the final tally will exceed the $32,000 raised last year.

The ride’s primary sponsor was Lewis General Dentistry; supporters include All About Adventures, Bonner General Hospital, Coldwater Creek, Evans Brothers Coffee, Family Health Center, Greasy Fingers, Hammer Nutrition, Keokee Publishing, Laughing Dog, Litehouse Foods, Lake Pend Oreille School District, Moto Support Team, Outdoor Experience, Panhandle State Bank, Pend Oreille Pedalers, Sandpoint Sports, Sandpoint West Athletic Club, Schweitzer Mountain Resort, Sports Plus, Trinity at City Beach and Williams & Parsons.

Jason Duchow provided the official photography for the CHaFE 150. Link up to his photos as a slideshow, or to see or order individual prints, from the CHaFE website at www.CHaFE150.org.

The CHaFE ride raises money for the early childhood education programs of the Panhandle Alliance For Education, a nonprofit organization that promotes excellence in education for northern Idaho children. Learn more at CHaFE150.org or PanhandleAlliance.org.