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Orlando Sentinel: We Bike for Kids Ride – Mar. 21

5592351_origWally Kurz, 76, has had fun bicycling most of his life.

While pursuing his passion for the sport, he has also found a way to bring fellow bike riders together to raise funds to help area kids. Kurz, along with more than 100 members of The Villages Bicycle Club and fellow bicycle enthusiasts from beyond, will take part Saturday in the fourth annual We Bike for Kids event.    

The event benefits Project Legacy, a group that addresses the needs of area children, and the Sumter County Youth Center. In the last four years, Project Legacy has been able to provide more than $56,000 to more than 30 area organizations that work with children in Lake and Sumter counties.    

“I ride between 150-200 miles each week, and I so enjoy it,” said Kurz, the event chairman. “It is a lot, but a bunch of us get together, and we have a great time doing it.”   

 So much so that about 300 area bicyclists will turn out to participate in one of three heats: a 66-mile back-roads route to Lake Panasoffkee; a 30-mile jaunt through and around Wild-wood; and an 11-mile trek through The Villages, all pedaling for the same cause.    

“It is not a timed race, but a friendly event for all bicyclists depending on their level — from the more experienced to novices.”    

The event has raised more than $34,000 since its inception to help area organizations such as the Boys & Girls Clubs of Lake and Sumter Counties, the Sumter County Youth Soccer Club and the Sumter County Youth Center. In addition to We Bike for Kids, The Villages Bicycle Club, which has about 30 sponsors, including Parady Financial Group, retrieves unwanted bikes and donates them to the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office.    Last year, it was able to donate 200.    

Kurz was born and raised in Philadelphia, earned a bachelor’s degree in engineering from Penn State and worked as a mechanical engineer for General Electric, retiring after 35 years. He moved to The Villages seven years ago with his wife, Peg Casey.    

Those who attend or participate in the bike event will be provided with a light breakfast, T-shirt, goody bag, raffle prizes and lunch catered by Ricciardi’s Italian Table.    

Registration is $35 in advance and $40 the day of the event, which starts at 8:30 a.m. at the SeaBreeze Recreation Center, 2384 Buena Vista Blvd. To register or for more details, visit webikeforkids.com.

By Elira Benavari

Copyright Orlando Sentinel 2015

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