Students bike 180 miles to fundraise for ZiggyThon

Kendra Clark and Kendra Clark

As a part of the fundraising for ZiggyThon, 150 students biked a total of 180 miles from Cincinnati to the University in the Bikes for Tikes ride.

They raised a total of $102,854.57, which was over their goal of $100,000. The bikers arrived at ZiggyThon at 4:30 p.m. then ran through a tunnel created by the dancers who where waiting for them. They then made their way to the stage and performed a dance and unveiled their grand total that they raised to support the Children’s Mercy Hospital and the Miracle Children.

Tears were shed as students finished their long trip and joined the large crowd for ZiggyThon for the grand finale.

Senior Taylor Vail was among the many who felt overwhelmed after the ride was over.

“It feels weird,” she said. “The weekend felt like it would never end and now that it’s over, it’s very emotional. This ride has been my life for the past three days and now it’s over.”

Vail said she felt overwhelmed because she woke up at 5:30 a.m. that morning to make it to ZiggyThon on time.

“Also, to know that we made our goal is an amazing feeling,” she said.

Junior and biker Lexie Lawnicak said she made the trip because she is going to be a teacher when she graduates and she wants the children to have a chance to be in her classroom.

Lawnicak described the trip as “crazy and amazing and very emotional.”

“At the last night, the wind was really strong and it was getting hard to ride,” she said. “But I knew we had to finish and get here on time so I kept going.”

Austin Flores, one of the assistant director and internal affairs, oversaw the chair responsible for the riders in Bikes for Tikes.

He described the event as riders bike 60 miles every day for a weekend to make it from Cincinnati to the University, making 180 miles overall.

“In order to become a rider, students have to raise $450 to qualify,” he said.

There were many people who wanted to ride, but they only have 150 spots, he said.

“We start in the fall to register,” he said. “We had over 230 people register. The students that were chosen were the first to reach that goal of $450 and get a spot.”

While riding, the students will stop and sleep in local churches and schools that Bikes for Tikes has built a relationship with.

“It’s nice to have these partnerships,” he said. “The riders will go through some small towns and it’s almost like a big event for some people. They hold up signs to support the riders that come through and it’s almost like a parade for them.”

These signs and support from the communities was one of junior Brooke Kranz’s favorite parts of the trip. She was apart of the core committee and biked since her freshman year.

“It feels amazing to be back,” she said. “The weather this year was rough but didn’t effect the people. Everyone was so positive the whole time.”

Her other favorite part of the weekend was when they were told how much they had raised in Bikes for Tikes.

“We got to know before the others,” she said. “They showed us a poster with the total and we all started sobbing when we realized we reached our goal. It was a phenomenal feeling.”