Cycling for a Cause

    Baldwin EMC employee Shelby Singleton pulls double-duty as a volunteer and participant in RIDEYELLOW event

    When Baldwin EMC Work Order Specialist (and avid cyclist) Shelby Singleton heard about RIDEYELLOW from a co-worker two years ago, she knew it was something she wanted to be a part of.

    “In this day and time, everyone is affected by cancer, either directly or indirectly,” Singleton said. “When I heard about this ride, I thought it sounded like not only a great opportunity to bike, but a wonderful way to get involved.”

    With the tagline, “…more than just a bike ride,” RIDEYELLOW was launched in 2007 to raise cancer awareness and support. It is held every year on the Saturday before Father’s Day, with the ride beginning and ending in Halliday Park in Bay Minette. Participants can choose to ride in the 6-mile tribute ride, or continue on 10-, 20-, 37- or 62-mile routes.

    In June, Singleton teamed up with other volunteers and spent the Friday before the event helping put race packets together and setting up in the park for the next morning. On Saturday she was back, bright and early, this time with her bicycle and helmet in tow.

    “It’s a great day because there’s such a camaraderie of working together and meeting people,” Singleton said. “Some of the most fun is stopping at the rest stops and just visiting with the vendors and other volunteers. The mood is so positive because of all these individuals taking small steps toward such a large cause.”

    Indeed, RIDEYELLOW is executed in large part through the effort of 150-200 volunteers each year, according to Joann Nix, chief nursing officer with North Baldwin Infirmary who serves as the volunteer coordinator for the event.

    “The planning starts far in advance of the ride,” Nix said. “We’re meeting, we’re making calls, we’re securing sponsorships, there’s a lot that goes into it.”

    For those who choose to plug in to the event, whether as a volunteer or as a cyclist, there’s also a special opportunity to make the ride extra personal.

    “When you register for RIDEYELLOW, you’re asked if you’d like to submit a name in honor or in memory of someone,” Nix explained. “All of those names are placed on a list. On the Wednesday before the event, we have volunteers come in and hand-write each name on a slip of paper that’s ultimately crafted into our Unity Chain. The chain is then placed in Halliday Park on the morning of the ride as a representation of why we’re doing this.”

    “Participating in RIDEYELLOW gives me such a sense of fulfillment,” Singleton said. “The ride itself promotes health and encourages people to get out and exercise in a good, healthy way. And to do it all in the name of raising funds and raising awareness for cancer, is really a wonderful thing.”

    For more information on RIDEYELLOW, including the history behind the event and how to get involved, visit RIDEYELLOW.org and follow @RIDEYELLOW on Facebook.