Lifestyle

Mercer Islanders ride the WAVE to stop domestic abuse

Ride the WAVE Sponsorship Director Carol McFarland, at left, and ride director Sharon Anderson, at right, stand with Bridget and her new bike.  - Jenny Manning/Staff Photo
Ride the WAVE Sponsorship Director Carol McFarland, at left, and ride director Sharon Anderson, at right, stand with Bridget and her new bike.
— image credit: Jenny Manning/Staff Photo

Mercer Islanders know a thing or two about bikes.

Two wheels and a frame are more than transportation or recreation. Although a little metal and rubber is good for getting from one place to another, it’s also a powerful way to carry a message and provide a little comfort and community.

Now in its third year, Cycle the WAVE is a noncompetitive bike ride for women with a purpose to increase awareness of domestic violence and fundraise for Eastside Domestic Violence Program (EDVP). Each year more riders join the cause, and this year 15 Mercer Island women are signed up to participate, including school board members Adair Dingle and Lisa Strauch Eggers, who are both ambassadors for Cycle the WAVE, which takes place in Issaquah on Sept. 19.

Ride Director Sharon Anderson said the ride’s purpose is to bring awareness that help is out there for women who feel stuck in abusive relationships.

Thanks to strong local backing, the event continues to thrive.

“The community support is incredible,” Anderson said. “That’s why we can donate 100 percent of the proceeds.”

Island business owner Graham Hunter is supporting the ride with a donation of 1,000 water bottles, and he’ll be at rest stop number two on race day to cheer on the women, whether they’re in it for the 25-mile “Girly Girl,” 40-mile “Middle Sister,” or 62-mile “Burly Girl” ride.

Hunter opened a bike shop, Veloce Velo, on the Island in August.

In addition to the water bottles and rest stop support, Hunter — who has supported the race since 2007 — has taken a more personal approach to race support this year.

He has outfitted Bridget, a domestic abuse survivor, with a new bike, gear and a helmet so that she could participate this year.

“It just makes you feel so good to give it to someone who needs it,” he said.

For Bridget, now 34 years old, it is her first bike.

“It takes off like a rocket,” she said with a big smile.

Bridget calls Hunter’s generosity a “gift to Mercer Island.”

“I think the ride is going to be very emotional for me,” she said. For 10 years Bridget was stuck in an abusive relationship, but the birth of her son, now 4, changed that. She made a call to the Eastside Domestic Violence Program (EDVP). Her life continues to improve each day.

She currently lives in confidential transitional housing with her son, attends school and does speaking events for EDVP.

She is pursuing a degree in social and human service and would like to pursue grant writing to help other domestic violence victims.

“EDVP directed my life force,” she said.

Pick up the phone and get help

If you or someone you know needs help, contact:

• Mercer Island Youth & Family Services: (206) 275-7611

• Domestic Violence hotline: (800) 562-6025

• D.A.W.N. 24-hour crisis line: (425) 656-7876

• New Beginnings Community Advocates: (206) 783-2848

• Consejo Counseling & Referral: (206) 461-4880

• Refugee Women’s Alliance: (206) 721-0243

Visit www.cyclethewave.com for more information or to register for the ride.

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