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Bike ride raises funds to help homeless people


Gears for Change, a bicycle ministry of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Coeur d’Alene, is sponsoring an Aug. 22 multi-difficulty-level bicycle ride, “Mica Peak Century Plus,” in memory of cycling activist and homeless advocate Helen Lewerenz.

Last year, Helen came up with the name “Gears for Change” when the church held the 450-mile “Ride the Palouse” bike ride from Cheney through Moses Lake, Pasco, Walla Walla, Pullman and back to Cheney.

Among the four riders completing the fund raiser for Second Harvest was Father Pat Bell, priest at St. Luke’s.  A 2010 Ride the Palouse was scheduled, but has been canceled.

The fully-supported Mica Peak Century Plus Bike Ride begins at 7:30 a.m., Sunday, Aug. 22, at Vertical Earth at Riverstone Park.

It will offer four routes for riders to take to raise funds for homeless people at the St. Vincent de Paul Transitional Housing and the Fresh Start homeless drop-in center in Coeur d’Alene.

A 100-mile route will go to Rockford, Fairfield, Waverly, Valleyford, Spokane Valley and Post Falls.  A 60-mile route will go to Fairfield and back through Rockford.  There will also be two family-oriented routes—15 and 30 miles—on bike paths in Coeur d’Alene.

Pat began bicycling four years ago when his wife began competing in the Ironman bicycling, swimming and running triathlon.  Two years ago when they hosted two Episcopal priests who were competing in Ironman, Pat learned about a 1,000 mile bicycle ride that dioceses in Iowa and Missouri were holding to raise funds for water projects in Sudan and Swaziland.  After he and a friend did the miles in the Inland Northwest, they decided to do a project in Coeur d’Alene.  That was the seed for “Ride the Palouse.”

Now there are 10 people involved in Gears for Change, riders and people supporting them.

Pat, who has served St. Luke’s for more than eight years, grew up the fifth generation in a Rockford farm family and fourth generation of people who built train engines in Hillyard.  After studies at Whitworth College, he completed seminary studies at Fuller Theological School in 1977 and served Open Bible churches in Spokane for 10 years.

Then he completed Anglican studies at the Seminary of the Southwest in Austin, Tex., in 1989 and a doctoral degree in congregational development at Seabury Western in Chicago in 1996. 

He served churches in the Episcopal Diocese of Eastern Oregon before coming to Coeur d’Alene to St. Luke’s, which he said is active in pastoral care and in social outreach ministries, particularly with the homeless.

Pat plans to give a sermon in August on spiritual wisdom from bicycle riding.  He offered a taste of his learnings:

• A bicyclist is always in control when engaged in the hard work of going up hill, compared with coasting downhill.

• A bicyclist always goes where he or she is looking, so looking down could lead to a fall.

• Riding in a group goes easier and faster than riding by oneself.

For information, call 208-659-2325 or email


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