Cyclists turn out for 'a good cause and a fun time'

Riders including 6-year-old Elliot Sievert, foreground, head out Saturday night on the 14-mile leg of the Moonlight Ride for Hunger. The fourth annual event supports Horizons Soup Kitchen and Food Pantry.

QUINCY — Allison Kessinger says riding a bike is like active meditation.

"I usually listen to a podcast, a book or something and just get outside and ride," Kessinger said.

The Mount Sterling woman "meditated" for 10 miles Saturday night as part of the fourth annual Moonlight Ride for Hunger.

"I just loved getting out of my own hometown and riding somewhere new," she said. "I just ride a few times a week through the summer. This is the only event I ever do."

The event's two rides — a 14-mile route across both Mississippi River bridges and a 10-mile route starting from Quincy's Clat Adams Park — brought out 150 riders to support Horizons Soup Kitchen and Food Pantry.

"It's a good cause and a fun time," said Nathan Munger of Hannibal, Mo., who did the 14-miler.

"We're all coming together to enjoy the outside and help the hungry in our area," event director Bob Daly said. "People are excited. They love this."

COVID-19 guidelines restricted the number of participants in the event, Daly said, but didn't force it to cancel which was key for providing more support for Horizons.

"It allows us to do what we do best -- to feed hungry people," Horizons Executive Director Sarah Stephens said.

Stephens said the soup kitchen served 25,000 hot meals in the past five months -- 5,000 more than the same period last year, including to people who never had to seek help before -- in a to-go format because of the pandemic.

Quincyans Erin and Eric Wharton rode the 14-mile route to support the work being done by Horizons.

The couple typically ride with their kids, and don't ride as far, but enjoy the chance to ride across the bridges.

"This is the third time we've done this ride," she said. "Riding at night's fun. We don't ride at night otherwise."

Six-year-old Elliot Sievert knew exactly why he wanted to ride the 14-mile route.

"It's fun riding with my mom," Elliot said, and "it's nice when people help people."

With help from his mom Laura, family and friends, Elliot raised more than $280 for Horizons. Quincy Public Schools Superintendent Roy Webb pushed him over the $300 mark with a $20 donation -- and a Blue Devil coin to recognize the work that Elliot described as giving kids food.

Riding 14 miles "was the plan," said Brian Clark of Hannibal, who usually logs 30 to 40 miles a week on his bike. "It's a good evening to come out and ride across both bridges and awesome to support a good cause."

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