Cycle for Service makes first stop in Selma

Published 11:01 pm Friday, April 20, 2018

The Alabama Rural Ministry (ARM) began their ninth Cycle for Service bike ride at 9 a.m. Friday morning, and completed the first-leg of their three-day bike ride at Memorial United Methodist Church on Broad Street.

The nine cyclists started their ride at 9 a.m. in Cuba, and rode 82 miles to Selma on day one of their journey.

The Cycle for Service bike ride is the ARM’s largest fundraiser that helps assist with their mission of providing home repair and assistance to low-income families.

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“Part of our ministry, is to provide home repair assistance to families on lower fixed-incomes,” ARM executive director Lisa Pierce said. “This is one of our few fundraisers that we do to raise awareness about the number of families that have sub-standard housing. It raises money for the construction materials to do the work, because we mainly use volunteers that do the home repair.”

ARM is based in the Opelika/Auburn area, but they do much of their work in the Livingston and Tuskegee areas. According to their website,, 35 percent of families living in Alabama are considered below poverty.

ARM has a fundraising goal of $25,000, and are currently just under $19,000 according to Pierce. Each cyclist has a fundraising page on the ARM website, where people can continue to donate to their cause.

The group picked a good weekend to start their ride, but the upcoming storms forecasted for Sunday may catch up with them before they reach their final destination at the Chattahoochee River in Phenix City.

They had a little extra resistance as they rode into the wind, but everyone made it safely to Memorial UMC just after 5 p.m.

Nicki Griffin, who was already an avid cyclist, combined her passion for cycling and mission work by going on her first Cycle for Service ride.

“It was the perfect way to bring the two together knowing that I could do something that I love and help others in the process,” she said.

ARM only stayed in Selma for the night, as they still have 163 miles left to go. Memorial UMC has shared their church with the cyclists for several years, and provided them with dinner as they usually do.

“This is a perfect location for them, and we’re glad to be able to open our doors,” Memorial UMC pastor Steve Kopp said. “They come every year, and we give them pizza or sandwiches or sometimes home cooked meals. We just love to be able to serve them.”

Memorial UMC is a longtime supporter of the work ARM does, and Kopp hopes to bring their ministry to Selma. He changed the church’s marquee to read “Welcome ARM Bikers.”

The congregation filled up a 24-oz water bottle they deemed the “Water Bottle of Change” with money collected to donate to ARM.

“It’s an incredible ministry,” Kopp said. “It’s bigger than just fixing somebody’s house, because there are people involved and that to me is the most important part.”