Bike riders are gearing up for a trip to Rocky Point. Instead of going on vacation, though, they plan to give their time to the city and its residents.
In "Ride for Rocky Point," hosted by Weekend Missions, Inc., bicyclists will take a tour from Phoenix to Rocky Point, Mexico. The riders plan to embark on Dec. 1 and complete their journey on Dec. 3. Donations raised by the riders will go toward providing food, shelter, clothing and other supplies for people living in Rocky Point, Brian Wright, who came up with the idea for the event, said.
"I love to ride bicycles, but I've never really heard of anyone doing it across two countries," said Wright, an Ahwatukee resident.
The approximately 212-mile trek will be taken over the course of three days. Bicyclists will camp overnight and will be supported by an RV carrying supplies, Wright said. Vehicles will follow behind the riders, and police will escort them from the border to Rocky Point for their safety.
Once they arrive in Rocky Point on Friday, bicyclists are encouraged to stay for the weekend and volunteer in Rocky Point, Wright said.
"When you look at the people of Rocky Point ... they're in such great need," Wright said.
Weekend Missions is also hosting an open house for a new mission in Rocky Point on Dec. 4, Bob Doehnert, a member of the organization and resident of Ahwatukee, said. The building used to be an old hotel, but was purchased by the organization for conversion. The mayor of Rocky Point is scheduled to attend the event, Doehnert said.
"It was kind of abandoned for awhile, and we've fixed it up," he said.
Riders are asked to secure as many sponsors as they can for the event. Wright said they hope each rider secures 25 to 50 sponsors, gathering a total of about $1,300 or more in donations. Those who can't gather that many sponsors won't be discouraged from riding, though, he said.
For those interested in taking part, it's not too late to sign up for the ride. At the moment there are between four to eight riders who plan to make the trip, Wright said, and he hopes to sign up more.
"We believe that if we can get somewhere between that 15- to 20-rider mark that will make it so much more exciting for the actual ride," he said.
Wright said that when the organization first designed the ride they were undecided about whether they would still go if they didn't have enough bicyclists. Although they are currently short of their goal, Wright said he no longer has any doubts about the trip.
"We're definitely proceeding," he said.
Weekend Missions Inc., who will host the ride, is a non-profit organization based in Arizona. The group schedules mission trips to Rocky Point roughly monthly, although those are generally taken by automobile, Doehnert said.
"It will change your life," Doehnert said. "It's an amazing thing we've got going on here."
Those interested in signing up for the Ride to Rocky Point can visit http://weekendmissions.com for general information and forms to join. For questions, call Brian Wright at 480-319-3862. Passports will be required for the trip.
Josh Snyder is interning this semester for the Ahwatukee Foothills News. He is a senior at Arizona State University.