Great American Bike Rally set for Year 3: What to know

With the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, there cannot be a Great American Bike Rally this year, so co-organizer Dean Bruewer embarked on a 300-plus-mile fundraiser to help fill the void. Pictured is Bruewer at Lake Erie at the end of his 344-mile journey from Fairfield to Cleveland. PROVIDED
Caption
With the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, there cannot be a Great American Bike Rally this year, so co-organizer Dean Bruewer embarked on a 300-plus-mile fundraiser to help fill the void. Pictured is Bruewer at Lake Erie at the end of his 344-mile journey from Fairfield to Cleveland. PROVIDED

Credit: Provided

Credit: Provided

Annual October ride coupled with Cleveland to Hamilton event which begins Sunday.

In year three of the Great American Bike Rally, organizers are doubling down and doubling up.

Co-founder of the rally, Dean Bruewer, said 2021 will be a “resurrection year” as he and the other organizers hope to double the attendance and sponsorships. They have also added more committee members to the organization’s board.

“This year we really want to emphasize getting outdoors,” said Bruewer.

In the first year, more than 70 riders came out to the Joe Nuxhall Miracle League Fields to raise money for the JNML and the Boys and Girls Club of Hamilton. Each organization received $5,000.

In its second year, the event’s numbers dropped drastically due to COVID. The October rally had just seven participants, but Bruewer decided to raise money for the two charities by riding from Butler County to Cleveland on Ohio’s bike trails to help raise money for the Miracle League and the Boys and Girls Club. The rally’s 2020 efforts and Bruewer’s week-long ride raised $5,000 total for the charities in 2020.

While the biking events are intended to advocate biking and the outdoors, it’s also a safe activity amid the COVID pandemic, health experts say. There is a lower risk of spreading and contracting COVID-19 with outdoor activities where social distancing can be observed.

“When you’re outside, fresh air is constantly moving, dispersing these (respiratory) droplets (that spread the virus),” according to the Mayo Clinic.

This year, Bruewer and the rally committee are planning to continue both events, the Erie to Miami Mid-Ohio Tour — which starts this weekend in Cleveland ― and the Great American Bike Rally in October.

The Cleveland to Butler County ride, which is estimated to be between 320 and 350 miles, will see Bruewer and a few others start on Sunday at the Edgewater Park in Cleveland and completing the trek by mid-afternoon on Sept. 11 at Marcum Park in Hamilton. Per-mile sponsorships and donations, which are handled by the Greater Hamilton Community Foundation, can be made at greatamericanbikerally.com.

“I had such a great time last year, the people you talk to, the things you see,” Bruewer said of the week-long ride on the Ohio to Erie Trail. “We’re going to get a good heartbeat of the situation in the middle of Ohio. COVID, politics, you name it. We talk about everything with anybody we run into on the trail.”

Bruewer hopes to match the $10,000 raised in the inaugural year of the rally. The Cleveland to Hamilton ride should bring in $2,500 to $3,000 in donations. The balance of the money he hopes can be raised a month later on Oct. 16 for the third annual Great American Bike Rally. It will start and end at Waterworks Park on Groh Lane in Fairfield. Adults and children can participate for as short as 1 mile and up to 20 miles on the trail, or a 35-mile “road tour.” Donations are requested, which are $35 for adults and $15 for children under 12.

“It’s a tough year, and what you’re seeing is businesses just beginning to recover,” said Bruewer. “We’re very actively soliciting sponsors.”

In hopes to draw more participants and spectators, Bruewer said this year, the October rally will have a live band and a food truck from Hammonds.

To signup, sponsor or donate to the Great American Bike Rally or the Erie to Miami mid-Ohio tour, visit greatamericanbikerally.com.

“We want to increase ridership, we want to focus on the trail system in Ohio. Ohio is the No. 1 state for trails in the United States. We have more trails than any other state,” Bruewer said of Ohio’s 1,523 miles of paved trails.

The Miami Valley Trails Network is the largest network in the country and continues to grow as communities connect gaps in the Great Miami River Recreation Trail, which is part of the network.


HOW TO HELP

Erie to Miami Mid-Ohio Tour: On Sunday, Sept. 5 to Sept. 11, a small group of cyclists will take seven days to ride along Ohio’s network of trails from Cleveland to Hamilton. Sponsorships and donations can be made to support the ride and charitable partners.

Great American Bike Rally: On Saturday, Oct. 16, adults and children can ride the Great Miami River bike trails to raise money for the rally’s charitable partners. The ride will start at Waterworks Park and end at the Joe Nuxhall Miracle League Field, both on Groh Lane in Fairfield. Donation requests for the rally are $35 for adults and $15 for children under 12.

To support either event, you can sponsor or donate through the Great American Bike Rally website, and all donations and sponsorships are handled through the Greater Hamilton Community Foundation.

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