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Jac Siemens (right) and the Mennonites in Tights group during a scheduled ride from Steinbach to Richer. The group is organizing a charity ride to raise funds for MCC's food programs. Terry Frey, The Carillon

Jac Siemens (right) and the Mennonites in Tights group during a scheduled ride from Steinbach to Richer. The group is organizing a charity ride to raise funds for MCC's food programs. Terry Frey, The Carillon

Mennonites in Tights organize MCC fundraising cyclathon

Gladys Terichow
April 22, 2009

STEINBACH, Man.—Mennonites in Tights, a Steinbach-based recreational cycling group, invite cyclists to join them in a 120-kilometre ride to raise funds for Mennonite Central Committee’s (MCC) food programs.

The one-day round-trip from Richer to Woodridge takes place Sunday June 14. Cyclists will follow the shoreline of ancient Lake Agassiz in southeast Manitoba through an aspen and pine forest, peat bogs, flat prairies and pre-boreal forest. Registrations will be accepted until May 31.

Money raised at this event will help MCC support agricultural projects and distribute emergency food assistance in countries such as Ethiopia, where millions of people are facing hunger because of drought and high food prices.

This ride is the first annual ride of Bike Manitoba, an MCC cyclathon to be held on a rotational basis in three regions of the province—southeast, southwest and Winnipeg, said Paul Friesen, coordinator of MCC Manitoba resource development.

Bike Manitoba builds on the success of two other rides for MCC. Bike the Interlake is now incorporated into Bike Manitoba. The off-road ride, Cycle Clear Lake, takes place July 4. The registration deadline for Cycle Clear Lake is June 15.

Jac Siemens, a founding member of Mennonites in Tights and coordinator of the 2009 Bike Manitoba ride, said the route selected for this ride is well-liked by cyclists in the region. It is not unusual for cyclists to see bald eagles, grey jay birds, deer and black bear as they travel along quiet highways through a variety of landscapes.

“It is a stress-free environment,” said Siemens. “We ride for health and fitness but it always comes back to building relationships. That is what it is all about.”

Mennonites in Tights was established in 2003 when Siemens and other cyclist from the Steinbach Mennonite Church started riding together on a weekly basis. The group now has its own website and includes about 30 avid cyclists from diverse backgrounds. “Our common interest is the bicycle and the ride,” said Siemens.

Last year the group had 46 scheduled rides. As an active member of a Mennonite congregation, Siemens said he is pleased that he can combine his love for cycling and his desire to support MCC programs. “I love cycling and this is something that I can do to support MCC and its mandate,” he said.

Visit mcc.org/Manitoba to download a registration form or call, 866-761-1046 or 204-320-1925.