Cyclist challenge promotes clean air

Students looking to escape the city, bring your bike and check out the American Lung Association of Alaska's 2001 Clean Air Challenge bike trek. This is the perfect time to create new memories with an old friend or a great excuse to make new one's, along a scenic tour of the Park's Highway.             

The Challenge is a 120 mile, two day bike trek from Houston to Talkeetna and back. The purpose of this challenge is to promote and stress the importance of clean air throughout the state.

An online interview with Jo Lamson of the ALAA wrote, “The event has become a much stronger fundraiser for the ALAA, and as a result, has allowed us to focus more time and energy on programs and an opportunity to share information relating to issues of concern to Alaskans.”

For many, their involvement with the Challenge is personal. Many of the riders understand the harmful effects and consequences that tobacco use causes society because they have lost family members to lung associated health problems.

Lamson stresses that the ride is not a race, and participants will seek the challenge of completing the 120 miles at their own pace.

This year's ride is expected to include 350 participants compared to 230 last year. At this time, 150 individuals, including myself, are registered for the scheduled event, which requires a $25 fee. To actually participate in the ride, a minimum pledge of $400 is also required through sponsorship. Sponsors donations will go directly to the American Lung Association of Alaska.

According to Lamson, “for every dollar they pledge you, 70-75 cents will support lung health programs here in Alaska.”

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The ALAA has been very supportive toward those who seek to learn more about the Clean Air Challenge. Participants are encouraged to attend the training rides to prepare for the trek. Clinics will be held at REI on Northern Lights Boulevard from March 28 to May 2. This premier cycling event will take place on May 5 and 6.

For more information regarding the Challenge, including how to become a sponsor, visit the ALAA web site at http://www.aklung.org.