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Bemidji Rock Sober hosting First City on the Mississippi Bike Ride

Those who have not yet put air in their bicycle tires, or taken a long bike ride this summer will now have an opportunity to do so.

The Bemidji Rock Sober youth group will host the First City on the Mississippi Bike Ride Saturday, June 25.

"Rock Sober is a free support and recovery group for teens dealing with substance abuse," said event coordinator Matthew Roy. "The proceeds will help cover the costs of transportation and activities for the kids."

Members of the Rock Sober group were vital in the creation of the fundraiser.

"The kids made posters, brochures and searched for sponsors," Roy said.

This ride will be the first organized bike ride using the Paul Bunyan Trail out of Bemidji, Roy said, and it will consist of three scenic route options - a 16-mile Lake Bemidji Family Loop, an intermediate 46-mile loop and an experienced rider 75-mile loop.

"We really want to reinforce the beauty of the area," Roy said.

The Family Loop is 16 miles long and will travel around Lake Bemidji with a food stop halfway through in Lake Bemidji State Park.

Youth ages 12 and younger will be able to count randomly placed paintings of Babe the Blue Ox throughout the Family Loop, and those with the correct number at the finish will receive a prize.

The intermediate 46-mile loop will consist of rest stops at miles 19 and 34, while the 75-mile loop will have three rest stops at miles 19, 46 and 61.

"We want to make people appreciate what we have here," Roy said. "And this is one way to do it."

Roy said he enjoys seeing the community being active and hopes someday the area will be a hub for biking fanatics.

"It's just exciting to see the number of bike enthusiasts out biking on any day," Roy said. "It's one of those activities anybody can do."

Registration and the start and finish line will be held at the Sanford Center convention entrance. Route maps will be available as well.

Participants will be allowed to start the ride at their own discretion once they have registered.

For the Family Loop, registration costs are $10 for adults and teens. Youth ages 12 and younger ride for free with a paid supervising adult, and registration will be held from 10-11:30 a.m.

The 46-mile loop will cost $20, while the 75-mile loop costs $35. Both prices include a T-shirt. Registration and the bike ride starting will be held from 7:30-9:30 a.m. for both of the longer rides.

All participants of any ride will be required to bike wear helmets.