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Montgomery bikes for good causes

February 5, 2017

Riding a bicycle can be good for your health. Riding a bicycle for charity can be good for someone else’s health.

There are two such events taking place in February, and Dakota State University professor Alan Montgomery is participating in both.

The first is called the “Tour of Sufferlandria,” nine consecutive days of training on a stationary bike, taking place from Feb. 4 through the 12th. The online program uses video interactions to set the stage for the daily rides, which Montgomery said are “high-intensity.”

The app provides the loaded “Sufferfest” videos, and records the work-out data. There is also a social media platform “so you can feel like you’re a part of something,” he added.

Sufferlandria is definitely about something, namely Parkinson’s Disease, with entry fees and donations going to the Davis Phinney Foundation. Phinney was a road bicycle racer who won stages of the Tour de France throughout his career, and a 1984 Olympic bronze medal with the 100 km race team. He was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 1999. In 2016, 3,000 Sufferlandria riders raised $125,000 for the foundation.

Montgomery knows the value of charity rides from past experience. In 2006 he did a Mickelson trail trek for cystic fibrosis, for his son who has the disorder. His son has benefitted from programs sponsored by such fundraisers, and from new drug treatments.

His ride for Parkinson’s is personal also. Montgomery’s father, who lives in Ireland, has Parkinson’s. The Parkinson’s Foundation website says that about one million Americans have the disease, about 10 million worldwide. He has set a goal of raising $500. Those who wish to support his efforts can go to the website https://my.davisphinneyfoundation.org/fundraise?fcid=883735.

The second event Montgomery plans to participate in is the Community Center’s Cycle-a-Thon. The Saturday morning event on Feb. 25 will feature 16 stationary bikes running for three straight hours, from 8:15 -- 11:15 a.m.

Riders will be pedaling to raise money for the Lake County Food Pantry Kids’ Pantry Backpack program. Volunteers currently pack weekend backpacks full of snacks and easy meals for over 150 students in preschool through 5th grades in Lake County, at Head Start, Madison Elementary, Oldham-Ramona, and Rutland schools. The weekend food packs cost about $4.50 each.

Riders may sign up for one, two, or even three hours of cycling, and free-will donations are accepted, said event coordinator Desiree Hortness. The Fortunaires Foundation of Transamerica Insurance is matching providing matching funds; Thrivent Financial-Lutherans is providing some snacks and prizes. The first hour will feature country music, the second old school rock and roll, and the final hour will feature music from the 70’s through the 90s.

“The Kids Pantry Program appreciates the Community Center for choosing our organization to receive funds from their upcoming Cycle-A-Thon Fundraiser,” said Kim Wermers, co-chair of the Kids Pantry program. Because of the generosity of the Community Center and other local organizations, “we are able to sustain this important program.” Wermers is also on the Lake County Food Pantry Board of Directors, and is card services specialist at DSU.

Anyone interested in participating in the Cycle-A-Thon may contact Hortness at desiree.hortness@dsu.edu, or call the Community Center at 256-5837.