On 24 April 2012, almost exactly one year after deadly tornadoes devastated the state of Alabama, sports legend Bo Jackson will start a five-day charity bike ride across the state with a goal of raising US$1 million for the Governor’s Emergency Relief Fund. The fundraising ride is called ‘Bo Bikes Bama.’
Jackson’s 300-mile ride will offer a glimpse of the devastation caused by the April 2011 tornadoes with the goal of inspiring and offering hope to the people of Alabama. “I was at home with my wife when I saw coverage of the tornadoes in Alabama splash across every news network,” Jackson told BikeRadarvia email. “The images were heartbreaking and I felt compelled to do something that would help the people of my home state. As I watched all of the devastating images of destroyed homes and suffering families, I looked at my wife and came up with the idea to do the bike ride. Fortunately, no one in my family was directly impacted but I feel that April 27, 2011 has changed the people of Alabama.”
Jackson contacted US bicycle manufacturer, Trek, who have supplied bikes to the sports star for a number of years, for help setting a route and promoting the ride.
The Bo Bikes Bama route is designed by Trek Travel, and will follow the path of the Tornados destruction. It begins in Henager, Ala. and concludes in Tuscaloosa, Ala. Throughout the ride, former teammates, and sports stars will join Jackson as well as others who make a charitable contribution to the cause.
Each day, Bo will ride a custom-designed Trek bike that features the names of the over 200 Alabamians who lost their lives to the tornadoes. A limited number of spots to ride with Bo are available for a $200 tax-deductible donation. Those interested should register online at www.bobikesbama.com. “Having their names on the bikes will motivate me while I ride,” said Jackson in his email response to BikeRadar. “You can rebuild a house, but you can’t bring these people back so I wanted to immortalize them in this way. It is also to acknowledge the surviving members of their families.”
On April 28, at the conclusion of Jackson’s journey, there will be a finish line celebration at the Tuscaloosa Amphitheater. This celebration will feature live entertainment as well as a silent auction with autographed memorabilia from athletes and celebrities such as Cam Newton and Lance Armstrong. The bikes from Jackson’s ride, donated by Trek, will also be auctioned off at the event. General admission tickets and VIP sponsorship packages will be available for purchase.
All contributions to Bo Bikes Bama will be donated to the Governor’s Emergency Relief Fund, which was established by Alabama Governor Robert Bentley immediately following the devastating April 27, 2011 tornadoes.
The Fund helps Alabamians who have exhausted all other avenues of disaster relief provided by insurance, government funding and relief organizations. For more information about the Fund, visit www.servealabama.gov.