October 15, 2012

More than 60 costumed riders turned out for Bike the Light…WITH SLIDE SHOW


Another year, another gang of zombie doctors, jellyfish, and pirates taking a leisurely bike ride to the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse.

Saturday, Oct. 13, marked the fourth edition of “Bike the Light,” an annual fundraising event that encourages participants to dress as strangely as possible. In this yearly fall bike trip that takes riders from Cape Hatteras Secondary School of Coastal Studies to the lighthouse and back, finishing first might not win you a prize, but dressing like a zombie surgeon with assorted bloody body parts attached to your ride very well might.

Hurricane Irene put a mild damper on the festivities last year, postponing the event to a later fall date. But this year, the event was back in full force with more than 60 riders and loads of generous donations from amazing prizes to post-ride grub from businesses all over the island.

Heidi Blackwood, president of the Kiwanis Club, was delighted with the donations and gifts that came pouring in.

“People were giving us donations, gift certificates, prizes – we really got a big response from the community,” she said. “Without the community, I don’t know how we could do it.”

Ocean Atlantic Rentals once again provided bicycles for folks who didn’t have one handy, and this year the Kiwanis Club added a “costume box,” stuffed with tiaras, pirate hats, boas, and gladiator helmets, for participants who wanted to get dolled up but didn’t have a costume.

Participants began arriving around 9 a.m. for the ride and congregated in the school’s parking lot. From the start, there were a couple riders who stood out from the crowd, a notable feat in a group like this.

Betsy Gwin arrived wearing light blue and a gigantic jellyfish bubble top on her head, with bubble wrap tentacles drooping down her shoulders. Constructed, fittingly, completely out of bubble wrap, she had seen the idea online and then tweaked it with the materials she had lying around the house. “This is why you should never throw anything away,” she said.

Diana Debrody, the aforementioned zombie doctor, had worked with a bloody surgeon’s costume she had from last year and made a shopping trip to Dollar Tree for various eyeballs, ears, hands, bloody gauze, and other appendages she could fasten to her bike. “It took about four hours to glue all the body parts on there,” she said, “and I’m amazed none of them have fallen off.”

Loula Mangold of Hatteras was the event’s first motor scooter rider and showed up with a rainbow Afro and a scooter covered with stuffed animals, toys, a rubber chicken, and other pieces of flair. “I’m just a clown,” she said. “I moved here from Pennsylvania, and I would always ride in the parades there, and this sounded like fun.”

A little after 10 a.m., the riders started their annual rubber-necking inducing ride down Buxton Back Road, while Heidi and the five other Kiwanis club members and volunteers stuffed gift bags for every participant, and started the debate on who was going to be this year’s winners.

“There are only six of us this year, but I think we have everything fairly well organized,” she said.

Frisco Sandwich Company provided free sandwiches for the riders and pizza was brought in from Nino’s, while the Kiwanis Club made careful deliberations on who was going to win. The prizes for this year’s event were fantastic and included a Spa Koru pedicure and three-month membership, a hang gliding lesson from Kitty Hawk Kites, toys from the Toy Store, a $100 gift certificate to Dirty Dick’s, and gift certificates from Rocco’s, Rusty’s, Captain Rolo's, The Fish House, Oceana’s, Sonny’s, The Hatterasman, and many more.

An hour later, the riders returned and dove into the sandwiches and pizza while awaiting the results.

County Commissioner Warren Judge also stopped by to don a Bike the Light T-shirt, chat with attendees, and applaud the winners. “This is wonderful,” he said. “The weather is beautiful, and this is just great for the children – to have fun on a pretty day while raising some money.”

After a few minutes, Heidi Blackwood announced the Bike to the Light winners. There were four kids’ prizes, a group prize, two adult prizes, and a special award that was invented to honor one of the riders.

In the kids’ category, two pirate girls, Lily and Chloe, took home the honors, as well as rock star Maleia, who was happy to score the pedicure, and scary jester Ashton.
The Edwards family, a handsome collection of Wonder Woman, a wolf, and Kitty Soft Paws won the best group award.

And Betsy and Diana, the jellyfish and the zombie doctor, won the two adult prizes. Diana was elated with the free hang-gliding lesson, while Betsy was thrilled with her Spa Koru membership and big collection of restaurant gift certificates.

“You can use those after you go to the spa to work out,” said Heidi.

The special award went to Loula Mangold, who at 82-years-old, was the oldest rider in Bike the Light.

Nobody left empty handed. T-shirts and gift bags and with stickers, coupons, and other prizes tucked in them were passed out to all riders.

After the prizes were distributed, all the tired pirates, zombies, and rock stars, happy and full of sandwiches and pizza, started to head home, and another successful Bike the Light was on the books.

Heidi Blackwood, packing up the T-shirts and sign-up sheets, was pleased with how the event went and incredibly delighted with the community response.

“Everyone was so generous, it was amazing,” she said. “I am so grateful to the community and everyone who helped make this year’s Bike the Light happen.”


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