The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

January 23, 2014

Pedal Past Poverty event coming up in March

Last year's spinning event raised about $75,000

If you’re into goofy costumes, intense competition, working up a sweat and raising money for a good cause, allow us to introduce you to Pedal Past Poverty.

A year ago Partners for Affordable Housing launched something called Pedal Past Poverty, an event where teams — some dressed in theme costumes, others bringing prepared motivational chants — take turns riding spinning stationary bikes and compete to see who can log the most miles.

Team members beforehand hit the streets and collect pledges, and all the money goes to cover the expenses of Partners for Affordable Housing, which operates the Welcome Inn and Theresa House homeless shelters.

“After the event,” said Carrol Meyers-Dobler, the CEO of the nonprofit housing agency, “the board said, ‘Yeah, we didn’t think this was ever gonna work.’”

The board, it appears, was wrong.

That event pulled in about $75,000, more than double their goal for the event. Now, they’re back again and plan to make this the annual signature fundraiser for Partners for Affordable Housing.

Meyers-Dobler said she’s got good reason to think the event will become even more lucrative.

Before coming to the Mankato area, Meyers-Dobler said she worked with a foundation that raised money for cerebral palsy in Bismarck, N.D. When they launched this kind of fundraiser, they pulled in $15,000 their first year. After a few years of growth, they were pulling in $100,000, and soon it was up to $300,000. Finally, last year, they raised more than ever and brought in $500,000.

Meyers-Dobler said that given the Mankato community’s active and outdoorsy culture — evidenced by the proliferation of bike trails and 10K races, and the rapid growth of the Mankato Marathon — she never doubted it would be a success here.

Team members ride in 20-minute intervals with a 10-minute break to change riders.

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