Local cyclists, organizers and volunteers with the regional Habitat for Humanity organization are preparing for this year's Cycle of Hope ride, which is set to kick off from a new starting line in Dublin early Sunday morning.
The benefit ride is returning for its sixth year from a new starting line at Patelco Credit Union headquarters -- a presenting sponsor of the event -- near Dublin Boulevard and Hacienda Drive for all three main rides, consisting of a nine-mile novice ride, a 33-mile intermediate ride and a 62-mile Metric Century ride, plus a kids' ride later in the morning.
Hundreds of volunteers and riders have already signed up for the event, according to an announcement from organizers on Oct. 12. Although a virtual option that was popular in past years continues to have a number of participants, the new Dublin starting line and other additions are expected to draw a majority of this year's crowd.
"Cycle of Hope excites our community because it's a way for everyone to be a part of changing the housing crisis that we see every day in our neighborhoods," said Janice Jensen, president and CEO of Habitat East Bay/Silicon Valley. "With all the fantastic community-centric amenities, we can't wait to show our supporters a wonderful time and to raise some critical funds for Habitat's work."
Some of those amenities and opportunities in addition to the ride include food and drinks, music, and a bike rodeo for children in addition to a bounce house and face painting. Organizers also said to expect a "festive atmosphere and the community camaraderie that have made Cycle of Hope a longstanding favorite."
Habitat for Humanity is a longstanding nonprofit organization that organizes volunteers to build homes that are sold to low-income families whom they support as they settle into homeownership.
Habitat East Bay/Silicon Valley, the regional outpost hosting the upcoming event, represents the Tri-Valley and has spearheaded homes throughout the area including Livermore, where volunteer and Habitat homeowner Veronica Torres has lived in her current residence for 17 years.
Torres said that the support and community offered by the organization makes volunteering important to her after more than a decade of living in her Habitat-built Livermore home, which she said was a crucial opportunity at homeownership that would have been out of her reach otherwise.
"Habitat for Humanity's gave us an opportunity to buy a house and build our own home from scratch," Torres said. "This came at a time when there was no way I could've bought a home in Livermore. Back then and even now today the prices in Livermore were so high."
Torres is a mother of five and LVJUSD worker. She noted that seeing community come together to support her and her family, as well as owning her home, are invaluable lifelong lessons to her children, the eldest of whom also learned a range of construction skills while helping build their home as a teenager.
"This experience helped her to see how to work together to succeed," Torres said. "There's a huge opportunities that teenagers don't always get today."
This comes at a time when homeownership has gotten less attainable as children have grown into adults.
"I wish there was more opportunity for others here in Livermore, for young families and older families," Torres said. "I guess the best thing I can say right now as my children are growing and I still have two at home is that the ones who moved out and are starting their own families know they have a place to come back to if something is ever needed, they have a home to always return to. It showed them what homeownership looks like so they have goals to someday own their own home."
Torres will be among the hundreds of volunteers for the upcoming benefit ride, which is set to kick off at 7:30 a.m. on Sunday (Oct. 22) with Metric Century riders starting their ambitious journey, followed by participants in the moderate ride at 8:30 a.m. and the starter ride for beginners at 10 a.m. and the kids' ride at 11:30 a.m.
The finish line festival is set to kick into gear as riders return in the early afternoon, with food, beverages -- including complimentary beer for participants of drinking age -- and the event's other festivities on tap throughout the rest of the afternoon.
While the three main rides are the highlight of the event, Jensen pointed to the ride as a way to showcase and amplify the network of support and community the organization seeks to offer as part of its broader mission.
"Cycle of Hope is so much more than a bike ride," Jensen said. "It's another way for our community to come together to build strength and stability for more people through affordable homeownership."
More information and registration on this year's Cycle of Hope is available at habitatcycleofhope.org.