Completing a 45-mile bike ride may seem like a daunting trek, but margaritas at the finish line are motivation enough for some.
Last Saturday, 84 cyclists from across the region gathered in Vermillion to participate in the 18th annual Margarita Ride. Starting and ending at Carey’s Bar downtown, cyclists chose between a 15, 30 or 45-mile trip around Vermillion and other Clay County communities.
The ride benefits the Welcome Table, an organization that provides meals every Monday night for Vermillion community members. It also helps Recycle 605, a group that collects recycled bike materials and gives bikes to those in need.
“The first year was purely for fun, but now it is a way to give back and have fun,” said Kevin Brady, organizer of the Margarita Ride.
Brady has been with the ride since it began in 2001. He said he’s motivated by the progress of the ride’s impact not only in Vermillion but in other cities in South Dakota and Iowa.
“The [Margarita Ride] always brings in a big group from Sioux City and other cities,” Brady said, “We started as a small cycling club and now as charity ride, it’s really great to be able to give back to Vermillion.”
Sioux City cyclists Sarah Fredrickson, Sarah Fryber and Chris Vonvick made their way to Vermillion to take the 30-mile route. The women were a part of the large community of cyclists from Sioux City that frequent the Margarita Ride. The riders make the trek for the margaritas, the views and to give back, they said.
“The route was very scenic and not too hilly, but we come not only to ride, but to help the charities,” Fryber said.
This year’s 84 cyclists is a higher turnout than the normal 60-70, Brady said. These 84 participants helped bring the Margarita Ride closer to their goal of purchasing a TriShaw for the community.
The TriShaw sits three people, one pedaling and two ridings, and would allow for the elderly members of the community to get out an enjoy Vermillion on bikes.
At the end of the ride, riders join together at Carey’s Bar for margaritas and Mexican food for lunch, lining the sidewalks of downtown Vermillion with bikes and helmets.
Brady said he’s already looking forward to next year.
The Margarita Ride is looking to expand its volunteer base and to include some USD clubs in its charity efforts, Brady said. For information about the Margarita Ride, visit margaritaride.org.