Now that it’s benefiting FACE Low-Cost Animal Clinic, the Miracle Mile Ride is more than just a leisurely bike ride because it’s raising funds to support an agency that does a lot with a little.
FACE, an acronym for the Foundation Against Companion-Animal Euthanasia, was formed in 1993 to offer spay-neuter services for cats and dogs regardless of an owner’s income. The clinic, 1505 Massachusetts Ave., also provides low-cost vaccines.
Robin Heldman, ride chairwoman, decided on FACE as the benefactor because she is well aware of the good work that it does for the local community. And as the owner of seven cats – three domestic, four feral – she knows firsthand.
The ride, dubbed Pedal 4 Paws, is in its third year and was previously a free event, but Heldman sensed that participants wanted the ride to have a focus. Hence, a fundraiser was born. And she believes that will help to generate more interest.
The event will feature 7-, 14- and 45-mile rides, with each one starting at the University of Indianapolis and heading north on Shelby Street before meandering through Garfield Park to pace the ABC Labor Day Miracle Mile Parade, which starts at 11 a.m. Sept. 5 at Madison and Southern avenues.
Bikers will be escorted by members of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department’s bike patrol. Roger Heldman, Robin’s husband, will pace the pack of participants. He has mapped the routes and is in the process of marking them.
All riders will continue south on Madison past the parade’s endpoint and to Hanna Avenue. The short ride will end at UIndy, with the 14-mile route going as far east as Sherman Drive before heading south to Thompson Road to Carson Avenue and back to UIndy.
For the long-distance riders, they will pedal down Southeastern Avenue into western Shelby County, then south to Boggstown before heading west and north and back to UIndy. These riders are in for a scenic treat as they will traverse a rural countryside while passing horse farms, grazing herds of cattle, old barns and rolling hills.
And if riders are looking for some refreshments or something to eat after finishing, Ella’s Frozen Yogurt, Starbucks and at least one food truck will be at the university.
“We will have a raffle for three gift baskets, each with a different theme,” said Robin. One will feature gear for a rider; one packed with goodies for a dog; and one laden with treats for a cat. Tickets can be obtained when redeeming Kroger or Pet Supplies Plus gift cards. Each $5 on a card is good for one ticket.
Dog rescue groups and pet service providers will also be on hand.
The Heldmans, who note that the event is just a ride, not a race, are hoping for about 125 participants – the oldest rider to date is 76 – of all skill levels. Experienced riders will average between 18 and 23 mph; casual riders between 10 and 13 mph. Riders must be at least 18, but 16- and 17-year-olds accompanied by adults are welcome. The fee is $15, and online registration is available at www.miraclemileparade.com. The first 100 people people to sign up will receive a T-shirt and a goodie bag. Day-of registration from 9-10 a.m. will cost $20 or an aforementioned gift card of equal value.
Robin is also in charge of the SAG (support and gear) stops, but she refers to them as “snacks and goodie” stops, where riders can replenish themselves with water and bananas.
The couple, who have owned Direct Connect Printing & Digital Services since 1991, are no strangers when it comes to charitable work as they play a vital role in the Culinary Collage benefit for Fletcher Place Community Center. The fundraiser has grown by leaps and bounds since launched in 2010.
When discussing her cats, Robin mentioned that she and Roger have created “condos” for the feral ones.
“They are free to come and go, and they usually stop in at least twice a day to eat. Her free-roaming furry friends have been spayed/neutered by FACE.
“I am an animal lover. I once had nine cats. I am what you would call a crazy cat lady.”
She’s hoping all animal lovers – especially feline fanatics – register for the ride.