John Aarhus, left, and Craig Molstad will ride in the Habitat for Humanity 500 (pounds) Ride.

Archived Story

500 pounds pedaling for Habitat

Published 2:02pm Thursday, November 18, 2010 Updated 2:51pm Thursday, November 18, 2010

Craig Molstad could never dream of biking 500 miles Habitat for Humanity’s annual Habitat 500.

But when the executive director of the Fergus Falls Area Habitat for Humanity found an old 1947 Monark bicycle headed for the landfill, he decided to create his own fundraising event — the Habitat for Humanity 500 (pounds) Bike Ride.

He and Re-Store Coordinator John Aarhus together weigh 500 pounds, and the two will be taking turns biking Friday on the Central Lakes Trail on the antique bicycle. They’re taking pledges per mile they ride, with all proceeds going toward Wadena tornado relief.

Rather than wait for spring for nicer weather or for the actual annual Habitat 500 in July, Molstad said they wanted to bike now when help is needed in Wadena.

“No one else is doing a bicycle ride in late November,” he said. “The need is now. There are people who have exhausted their savings, they’re still rebuilding, there’s a lot of houses that they still have to put windows and doors in before winter.”

The bike, as Molstad found it, was purple. He and Aarhus painted it red, but that’s all the restoration they did. They left the wheels and chain as is, and plan to ride the bike for as many miles as they can in its current condition.

“It has this classic wicker picnic basket that goes on the bike rack in the back — it’s really cute — and we’ll put lunch in there,” Molstad said, “because it could be a while.”

He added that they’re riding regardless of the weather, even if there were two feet of snow on the ground. They haven’t scouted the trail, but plan to ride either from Fergus Falls to Dalton, or from Dalton to Fergus Falls — whichever direction is with the wind and appears to be “the most downhill,” Molstad said.

“We figured if there are people who are still not back together again, we better go now versus in July,” he said. “Anybody can ride in July. It takes truly dedicated crazy people to want to do this.”

Check the Fergus Habitat website at www.fergushabitat.com or the Facebook page for updates on the guys’ progress as they complete the Habitat 500 (pounds) Bike Ride. To donate, visit www.fergushabitat.com or www.givemn.org or call 218-736-2905.

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