Cycle the WAVE rides to Issaquah High School

September 4, 2012

By Christina Corrales-Toy

When Samantha Garrard heard the statistic that one in three teenage girls will experience domestic violence, she was floored and moved into action.

“That’s a really staggering statistic,” she said.

Garrard, an Issaquah High School senior, had friends who struggled with domestic violence. It’s one of the things that prompted her to get involved with Cycle the WAVE, an all-women’s bike ride benefiting domestic violence survivors.

“I’ve had friends who have had abusive parents and I’ve watched them not know what to do,” she said. “So I took what I learned from my friends’ experiences and just realized that this is something that girls really need to know about.”

The event will take place Sept. 16 at Issaquah High School, in what will be Cycle the WAVE’s fifth year.

If you go

Cycle the WAVE

  • Rides start between 7 and 10 a.m. Sept. 16
  • Issaquah High School
  • 700 Second Ave. S.E.
  • $75 registration fee; registration closes Sept. 12 at 11:59 p.m.
  • www.cyclethewave.org

In past years, the event was held at Tibbetts Valley Park, but Cycle the WAVE Executive Director Sharon Anderson and Development Director Nancy Belur said they hope the new location attracts more high school students to get involved.

“It gives us a chance to bring awareness to the community and to the younger generation,” Anderson said.

Belur said one in four women will experience domestic violence in their lifetime. She added that domestic violence comes in many different forms.

“It’s really important to understand the faces or elements of domestic violence,” she said. “It’s not just physical, but it can be sexual, financial, psychological or even withholding affection.”

The aim of Cycle the WAVE is to spread awareness about domestic violence, raise money for the cause, and empower men and women to break the cycle. It takes an abused woman seven times to actually leave her husband, Anderson said.

“We’ve learned so much and the thing that we have seen firsthand, by talking to women who are survivors, the pattern is the same,” she said. “It’s exactly a cycle and it’s hard for them to get out, especially when you have children.”

After a successful four years of hosting the event, Belur and Anderson started The WAVE Foundation in 2011, allowing them to raise funds and distribute them to agencies across the state.

Money raised from the Cycle the WAVE event will go to support programs that assist domestic violence survivors. The group uses a grant-writing process where agencies can apply to the foundation for funds.

“These agencies that are applying serve domestic violence survivors,” Anderson said. “They have 24-hour crisis lines, they have shelters, hotel vouchers, they have education, legal advocacy and support groups for all ages.”

The bike ride is only for women, but Belur said the group receives extensive support from men.

“We’re an all-women’s ride, but we want it to be known that we are so supported by men because they are a critical part of this event,” she said. “The men are out there supporting the riders, changing their flats and encouraging them on the road, and it’s just great.”

There are four options available for the ride that will begin and end at Issaquah High School, including the 12-mile Little Sister, the 25-mile Girly Girl, the 42-mile Middle Sister and the 62-mile Burly Girl. The longer routes will allow the rider to pedal through the cities of Issaquah, Bellevue and Renton.

Start times depend on which route a rider chooses, but the Burly Girl takes off at 7 a.m. and the Little Sister will leave at about 10 a.m. A finish line reception will take place from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the high school.

“We try to have little surprises and pampering for the women,” Belur said. “For example, we have a spa stop and one of the components of the finish line reception is you get mini massages.”

Vendors, including Taco Time and Tutta Bella Neapolitan Pizzeria, and live music will be at the reception.

Online registration closes Sept. 12 at 11:59 p.m. It costs $75 per rider to participate. Riders can register on the day of the event, but the cost increases to $85.

Last year, more than 1,000 women participated in the bike ride and the event raised more than $130,000. Belur and Anderson said they hope to exceed those numbers this year.

“It’s just a great opportunity to come together in fitness, fun and philanthropy,” Belur said.

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