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Cycling for Consent Road Ride will raise funds for Compassion's Foundation

Bicyclists and non-cyclists alike are invited to the Pedals for Compassion Cycling for Consent Road Ride set for Saturday, April 6 at the Columbia County Fairgrounds.

Not only will there be an 11-mile and 20-mile road ride for any type of bike, there will a number of things for the community to do at the event such as face painting, inflatable slides, yoga, a petting zoo, a health fair, a sexual assault exhibit about what victims were wearing when they were assaulted, free AIDS and STD tests with gift card incentives from Engaging Arkansas, and meals to be purchased for adults and children.

Riders' meals are included in the cost of registration.

The ride begins at 9:30 a.m. for adults. There is a $40 registration fee and a grilled chicken sandwich meal. A kids ride begins at 11:30 a.m. and includes a hot dog meal. The kids fee is $15. The kids ride will be in a roped off area on the fairgrounds.

Lacey Ogle, executive director of Compassion's Foundation Inc., said this is the first year for this an event with the goal to promote sexual assault awareness as the organization's established Pedals Ride coming up this October is to promote domestic abuse awareness.

"Sexual assault month is April, and we are a dual agency, we serve both victims of domestic violence and sexual assault," Ogle said.

Pedals Bike Event Coordinator Lesley Thompson said the event is a 100 percent road ride and community event.

"The main objective is we have seen a lot of people who weren't cyclists before Pedals for Compassion and a lot of people were intermediate and so this is for those who are not ready for longer routes and a safer route for those more inexperienced riders," Thompson said.

The adult ride rounds to County Road 13 and essentially runs straight north of McNeil to the outer loop of County Road 60. The route will be easier to manage and easier for route markings, Thompson said.

"Riders will come out of the fairgrounds and turn north to McNeil and go to the rest stop there at County Road 60 and the longer riders will go to Shiloh Baptist Church. The shorter one will turn back at County Road 60," she said.

Helmets are required for safety and any bikes are welcome. Thompson said she will be riding her gravel bike.

"We are hoping this event will draw more local riders rather than our (fall Pedals) which draws from the tri-state area," Thompson said. "This is more about building community awareness, community involvement, and I hope it helps gather even more volunteers for the next event to create more excitement."

Compassion's Foundation's Board Member Adrienne Rushing worked on the graphics to promote the ride's flyer and Facebook messaging and was on the committee to help plan the event. She said sexual assault is something often kept silent, other than in groups like Compassion's Foundation.

"I think it feels like there is awareness for everything, but sexual assault and it seems like one of those things that no one talks about, and they don't want to talk about it, but it happens all the time and people don't realize it," Rushing said. "There are things that could have happened to you, but years later you realize that was actually sexual assault."

Emilie Vest, another board member and committee member for Cycling for Consent, said she thinks people will be excited to come out and see the animals who will be at the fairgrounds from Block-R Farms of El Dorado which is run by Amanda Morgan. Animals who will be on display include a mini cow and her baby, baby goats, a pony, and chickens and rabbits.

Additionally, there will be Sub Zero New Orleans Shaved Ice by Hannah Story and Charlene Walthall and yoga offered at the staging area by Krystle Crumpler who teaches at Infinity Fitness.

"It's important for the community to support the shelter because it provides resources for not only local women and children who need shelter but also who need diapers and formula, " said Vest, owner of the Beehive, an arts and crafts workshop on the Magnolia Square. "We provide an immediate response, and we want to keep that here. We don't want them to have to travel somewhere else to receive those services."

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