The third annual Raven Bicycle Ride is set for Nov. 8 and early registration for the fast-growing event is Saturday.

Raven Ride co-director John Amick said the ride was originally scheduled for Sept. 27, but was rescheduled because of Hurricane Ike.

The ride is the sole fundraiser for the Huntsville Lakers and Huntsville High School swim teams.

Amick, who organize the ride three years ago with Chance Brumley and Scott Hornung, said the early registration fee is $25.

He said online registration is available at www.huntsvillelakers.net, or a registration form may be printed out and mailed in.

Registration forms are also available at Nautilus Health Center, Iron Works, Richard’s Cycle Shoppe, the Huntsville-Walker County Chamber of Commerce, Hillcrest Forde and Wiesner’s of Huntville.

Amick said the registration fee after Saturday will be $35.

Registration is also scheduled from 5 to 9 p.m. Nov. 7 at Starbucks.

Riders may also sign up at the starting line at West Hill Mall the day of the ride beginning at 6:30 a.m.

The ride starts at 8 a.m.

“The Raven Ride is a ‘family friendly’ ride with a short 10- ot 20-mile ride to Huntsville State Park,” Amick said. “For those that would like more of a challenge, the ride offers 33-, 51- and 61-mile routes.

“When all of the troops return to West Hill Mall, Marsh Miller will be serving up his famous chicken and beef fajitas and music will be provided by DJ Peter Manry.”

Amick said the rides end around 2 p.m.

Amick said 200 riders participated in the first Raven Ride with the number growing to 316 in 2007 — a 65 percent increase over 2006.

“We expect this growth to continue and we are preparing for 500 riders this year,” he said. “I would say 70 percent of our riders come from Houston and The Woodlands, but we riders come from as far away as the Panhandle to ride, but we would also like to get more locals involved.”

Amick said he first proposed a bike ride as a way to raise funds for the Lakers to pay the $45,000 it pledged to the city toward construction of the aquatic center.

The Lakers have since met their obligation to the city.

“This has turned out to be a good fundraiser,” Amick said. “It’s good for the community because it brings people to Huntsville. It’s a win-win situation. It helps us out, it helps the community out. People stay in the hotels and eat at the restaurants.

Amick said the Raven Ride draws the number of riders because many of them use the hills of Huntsville and Walker County as a training site for other rides, including the Houston to Austin MS 150.

“The Raven Ride has become a joint effort between the Lakers and the high school swim team and it is their sole fundraiser,” Amick said. “The money raised supports these teams in many ways, from scholarships for swimmers, coaching salaries to equipment.

“A portion of the money is also set aside for capital improvements to the Huntsville Aquatic Center such as the flag pole that was recently purchased. We try to help people who help us.”

Amick said the ride involves the community because “the Raven Ride could not happen without the help of several organizations in Huntsville,” including the Iron Raven Motorcycle Club, ham radio operators, the Huntsville Volunteer Fire Department, Walker County Sheriff Department, the Raven Rangers, local Boy Scouts, Alpha Omega Academy, First Baptist Church and the Huntsville Kiwanis Club.

For more information, phone Amick at (936) 661-3805 or Chris Cirrito at (936) 437-8039.

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