Here for the ride

Kyle Riviere
Fifty people signed up for the Hope Bike-a-Thon, and 30 riders participated.
Photo by Kyle Riviere.

It's often pointed out how bike-riding among kids has declined over the years.

Well, if Hope Youth Development, Inc., and its director Mark Peters have anything to say about it, we may soon be seeing a rise in young bike-riders here in Ascension parish.

They were out in full force this past Saturday as Peters and Hope Youth Development put on their annual Hope Bike-a-Thon at T-Joe Park in Gonzales.

This year, the fundraiser became even more important when it was suggested that the event help out the parents of the two young children that were tragically lost in Geismar last month.

Daylon and Faria Lanus were killed after a SUV went off Bluff Road and crashed into them while they were fishing with their father and two family friends. The three adults were injured but survived the accident.

"We do an annual bike ride. We do three in Donaldsonville, and this is our fourth ride here in Gonzales," Peters said. "One of the parents wanted to collaborate and do something for the two kids that were killed, so I told them we could go ahead and do it. So, they invited the parents, and they brought some friends to ride."

Peters and Mayor Barney Arceneaux presented the parents, David and Shayla Lanus, with a bike helmet that was signed by all 50 riders that signed up for the bike-a-thon.

Along with Mayor Arceneaux, Police Chief Sherman Jackson came out and took place in a drawing that donated a bike to one of the event's participants. The bike was donated by Gonzales Councilman Kirk Boudreaux.

Peters was very grateful for Arceneaux and Jackson's involvement.

"It's always great to see the mayor and police chief come and give support," Peters said. "They're the leaders here in the community and whenever we can have them come and support, it's an awesome feeling."

Along with the bike, free helmets were given to the first 20 riders that signed up that morning.

"We had about 50 people to sign up and about 30 riders. The rain held off, so everything went well," Peters said.

The event was open to all riders--kids and adults. Once they got their helmets strapped up, they made the journey from T-Joe Park on Orice Roth Road to Jambalaya Park on East Cornerview.

The event is very important to Peters and Hope Youth Development. Their mission is to give kids hope through non-traditional sports, physical fitness and education.

He wants to get the kids out of the house and out being active and staying in shape.

"We wanted to try to get people out for help," Peters said. "We wanted to get them out for fitness and for fun and get families back together to let them know that by having a bike, they have something they can utilize, and they can stay fit and exercise."

Peters thinks that fitness and exercising are vital aspects in a kid's development, and he was thrilled to see so many youngsters come out on Saturday.

All of the smiles and enthusiasm made it all worth it for him.

"It was awesome," Peters said. "Whenever you can see kids get together and have fun and families come together and do whatever they can for fitness, it's big. We have a high rate of obesity here in the state of Louisiana and whatever my organization can do to help lower that and get people out--especially kids--we want to do that."

After another successful event, Peters said that the Hope Bike-a-Thon will definitely be back in Gonzales next year.

If you're interested in getting involved with Hope Youth Development, you can contact Peters at (225) 647-3927.