HARLINGEN — He did it.
The ride was hard, but Luis Renaud was determined to pedal his bicycle along the 25-mile route through town.
“I’m not going to say it was easy,” said Renaud, 67, who’d just finished one of the bike rides for the Second Annual Dia De Los Muertos Bike Tour.
“It was good,” he said. “It was cool. I did it just to exercise and contribute to a good cause.”
More than 100 participants showed up for the fundraiser organized by 100 Catholic Men and Women’s Club of Harlingen. The riders left Elks Lodge 1889 at 1426 S. Commerce St. early yesterday morning on either a 25-mile, 50-mile or 65-mile route, returning throughout the day.
“It went really well,” said J.J. Plata, president of 100 Catholic Men and Women’s Club.
“We raise money for scholarships for continuing education,” he said.
He further explained the scholarships are for high school students who have performed community service. Plata said there would be awards for the participant with the best costume and best-dressed bike.
Mary Helen Cano, vice-president of the organization, said the scholarships are for $500 each. The event was much bigger than last year, she said.
“We started out with about 40 people last year,” she said. “This year we have over 100. They’ve come from all over the Valley.”
The riders had indeed caught the spirit of the event, cladding themselves in colorful garb that glimmered in the morning light. Rose Torres wore a black veil and flowers in her hair, perfectly matched with skull earrings and a costume with skeletons from Bicycle World.
“This is my second time doing it,” said Torres, 34. “I really like being out with friends.”
She’d just traveled the 25-mile route with Cristina Cantu, 45, of Laguna Vista.
“It was fun,” she said. “I liked the weather and the water stations they had for us. At the beginning they had coffee, juice and sweetbread.”
Many participants appreciated the chance to engage in a worthy activity.
“I thoroughly enjoyed it,” said Eden Reyes, 62. “It’s a great way to stay in shape and help the community.”
While the bike ride was named after Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), it was definitely held with the living in mind.