RideMN1 bicycles across Minnesota each September spreading the news that we are winning the war against cancer.

This year's route of 343 miles has us looping around Bemidji on our way from East Grand Forks to Duluth. We will be camping in Clearbrook on Sept. 13, Blackduck on Sept. 14 and Federal Dam on Sept. 15.

Although a relatively small group of 30 riders, we hail from Michigan, Colorado, Oklahoma, North Dakota, Wisconsin and Minnesota. We are a diverse bunch, with six of our riders are in their 70s and 11 riders are women.

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As a cancer awareness nonprofit, we want to encourage cancer screenings. We know early detection is our best defense. Colonoscopies and mammograms are now standard procedures that are classified as preventive and are covered by most insurance companies. So, get screened!

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For those currently battling cancer, or if you have a loved one fighting right now, you are not alone. Please reach out to a neighbor, friend or simply a passerby; the kindness, love and support you receive will bring comfort.

We have met many survivors and many that are currently receiving treatment. This is not an easy struggle and our hearts can become heavy.

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RideMN1 wants you to know that you are not alone, we are biking to end cancer.

So, if you happen to see some of us pedaling along our route, give a honk and a wave as we are on a mission and can not stop.

Wally McFarlane, Aitkin, is the ride director for RideMN1.