Annual Bike Event Goes Virtual to Empower Students Beulah, Mich. – Bike Benzie’s 12th Annual Up North Bike Fest event on June 6, 2020 at Crystal Mountain resort will become a virtual event called the Pandemic Pedal. Bill Kennis, Event Chairperson said, “our amazing Sponsors still wanted to contribute to our Rotary-sponsored student programs so we morphed the event into a virtual ride dubbed the Pandemic Pedal”. The Benzie Sunrise Rotary decided to change its event when COVID-19 engulfed the nation at the four-month planning point. Many spring and summer festivals are being cancelled and the committee took action to recreate the event to encourage Riders to still train for a goal, to keep the community connected through virtual methods, and to raise money to continue to support important youth programs. “Changing the date to an uncertain point didn’t seem feasible and thus the Pandemic Pedal virtual bike event was born,” said Kennis. The virtual bike event allows cyclists to register and ride any route they choose at any time between June 6th and June 30th. Traditionally hundreds of cyclists gather at Crystal Mountain on the first Saturday of June to ride various predetermined routes. The virtual event will allow riders to set their own routes on their own time and encourages all riders to post pictures to the event’s Facebook page. Registration closes on Friday, June 5th and participants are to complete their rides between June 6th and June 30th. “We think we are the first virtual cycling event in Michigan,” stated Kennis. The annual cycling event is the largest fundraiser for the Benzie Sunrise Rotary. The Pandemic Pedal has no registration fee yet encourages donations and provides an opportunity to purchase a t-shirt. Cyclists can go to the website at bikebenzie.org to find more information and to register. Sponsorships and donations support long-standing programs for youth in our community that provide mentoring, scholarships, food insecurity support, and help with literacy. We anticipate greater need for our programs this year as the community realizes the full impact of COVID-19. Sponsorships and Rider support of the Pandemic Pedal will ensure that these programs continue. The organization is grateful for our Platinum sponsors, including Crystal Mountain, Paul Oliver Memorial Hospital, Walmart, Meijer, and Blue Cross/Blue Shield that share our passion for giving a helping hand to area youth and our community during these difficult times. The Benzie Sunrise Rotary realizes this is a challenging time for many and hopes the event fosters a sense of community. Pandemic Pedal – “go the distance, keep the distance” For more details visit our website at www.bikebenzie.org If you have any questions please contact Bill Kennis at email@example.com (231) 251-9002.