The Naples cycling community wants to help take care of their own. So to help Elayne Jackson, they are doing what they know best — riding their bikes.
Elayne Jackson was involved in a bicycle vs. truck accident on February 29. As the cyclist, she came out on the short end of the collision, suffering critical injuries, and has spent weeks in a hospital bed. The medical care has caused staggering bills for Jackson and her family, and to help, fellow riders are holding a fundraising ride for her benefit.
Organized on the Naples Velo Community website, the ride will bring a group of riders together to support Jackson, and promote safe cycling, said Naples Velo’s Andy Robinson, who has been instrumental in putting the event together.
“Naples Velo invites you to start your Easter day in a charitable way, in the spirit of this special holiday,” he said.
Riders will gather at Fit & Fuel, located in the Pavilion Shopping Center, for a 7 a.m. start on Sunday, April 8. The center is located at the northwest corner of U.S. 41 North and Vanderbilt Beach Road.
Cyclists are asked to donate $20 or more for Jackson, but this is voluntary, not a requirement, said Robinson.
“Of course, larger donations are welcome, too,” he said. “Any donation is much appreciated, but we want to see people get out and ride.” One hundred percent of all donations received will go directly to Jackson.
Those wishing to donate online can register at raceit.com, but registration is not required. The site also allows donations from non-cyclists who want to help Jackson defray her medical expenses.
For riders going the full distance of the run, the distance is about 60 miles, but individuals may choose to bail early, said Robinson.
“There are numerous options for short-cutting, or turning off early and returning home for Easter Sunday services,” he said.
Depending on their level of speed and ambition, riders may choose the “A” ride or the “B” version. The A ride group will expect to travel at 24 miles per hour or more, while the B group will ride at approximately 20 to 22 miles per hour.
The two groups will be covering the same course, just in opposite directions, so As and Bs can wave to each other when they meet somewhere in the middle. Details of the route for the run will be provided at Fit & Fuel on Sunday morning before the ride.
Unlike some of the group’s rides, there will not be scheduled stops or water available along the way. Cyclists will gather back at Fit & Fuel after the event for a cool-down with coffee and treats available. A portion of the proceeds from those sales will also go to benefit Jackson.
The ride is open to all, but Naples Velo members are asked to wear their club kits, and of course helmets. On Easter morning, and the other 365 days of this leap year, motorists are urged to pay careful attention, and be aware they are sharing the road with non-motorized two (or three)-wheeled vehicles, carrying riders who are not burning any fossil fuels, and are vulnerable to a moment’s inattention on the part of drivers.
For more information or to donate to help with Jackson’s medical bills, go to http://naplesvelo.ning.com.