By Judy Sheridan
The 11th annual Moritz Ride for Heroes bicycle ride, which raises thousands of dollars each year for the Aledo, Hudson Oaks and Willow Park fire departments and the Parker County Sheriff’s Reserve, as well as the East Parker County Center of Hope, is set for Saturday, April 20.
The ride will begin at 8:30 a.m. on the south side of the Aledo High School Campus on Bailey Ranch Road and finish in front of Bearcat Stadium.
Riders can choose between six routes of either 8, 23, 35, 44, 64 or 75 miles.
Eight rest stops, manned by Aledo High School clubs — which receive a small stipend for their help — offer fruit, sports drinks, homemade cookies and other refreshments.
Last year, mild, sunny weather drew more than 1,100 cyclists to Aledo and raised $45,000.
This year, Jo-Alice Davis, vice president of the board of directors, said she expects more.
“We’re ahead of the number of riders we had last year at this time,” she said. “It’ll probably be windy, but everybody’s been practicing in the wind.”
Davis, who helped get the Hotter ‘n Hell 100 started in Wichita Falls — directing the event for five years — said the health benefits and the good cause are the main reasons she supports the Ride for Heroes.
“I’m a bicyclist, and that’s something that’s good for everybody,” she said, “and this supports our local fire departments.”
All riders receive a free hamburger lunch — cooked by Aledo firefighters — and T-shirts.
Early registrants — signing up before midnight, April 13 — get a shot at winning a free bike, a 2013 Specialized Allez Elite, which retails for more than $1,000. They also receive a discount of $5 per participant, reducing the entry fee to $30 for riders 16 and older and $20 for riders age 15 and younger.
Online registration by credit card is available through BikeReg.com until midnight, April 17. Riders can also download their registration form and mail it — with a check payable to Ride for Heroes, Inc.— to: Ride for Heroes, P.O. Box 186. Aledo, TX, 76008, or sign up in person at the Aledo High School campus before the ride April 20.
For more information, go to www.rideforheroes.org.