MANKATO — Greg Lessard is trying to get people outdoors on their bikes while raising money for a good cause.

Lessard, a bike mechanic for Quality Bicycling Products in Bloomington, is holding a biking fundraiser to bring in donations for Key City Bike and Dakota Wicohan, a nonprofit in Morton that works on revitalizing the Dakota language. Lessard helped build Key City Bike, which repairs donated bikes, into a nonprofit in 2009.

Participants are encouraged to bike on Sakatah Singing Hills State Trail and take pledges from family and friends for the miles they bike.

“It’s as simple as asking a friend for 10 cents, 50 cents or $1 for every mile you bike,” Lessard said.

All of the proceeds raised will go directly to Key City Bike and Dakota Wicohan. Lessard created the event to celebrate the Sakatah Trail and the communities of the Minnesota River Valley while supporting a couple of local nonprofits.

The 39-mile-long paved trail was built along an old railway line, beginning at Lime Valley Road near Highway 14, running from Mankato to Faribault.

The fundraiser takes place throughout June. Information about how to get involved and where to send donations can be found on the Sakatah Social fundraiser’s Facebook page or by emailing Lessard at prairiesnail@gmail.com.

Lessard decided to do the event now because renovations on the Sakatah Trail to widen and repave it finished last year. Parts of the trail had been closed during the past few years because of repairs and updates.

Lessard hopes the event will be an opportunity to help support the nonprofits and get people outdoors.

Lessard lived in Mankato for 16 years. He fell in love with the Sakatah Trail and the communities it goes through while on bike trips with friends. After they finished work at Key City Bike, they would go bike the trail and explore towns such as Elysian along the way.

The fundraiser is informal; people can bike on their own time. Lessard organized it that way to keep people safe during the pandemic. He hopes to hold a bigger event someday.

Participants have all month to take pledges and bike on the trail.

 

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