Bicyclists line up after breakfast in front of the Elks Lodge on Sunday, Sept. 17, for the 20th annual Randy Fossum Memorial WALA, to raise funds for community programs sponsored by the Lake Almanor Elks Lodge 2626. Photos by Stacy Fisher

WALA ride raises $2,500

And they’re off! A group of 38 handcyclists and bicyclists start their trek around Lake Almanor on Sept. 17 for the 20th annual Randy Fossum Memorial WALA.

Exactly 38 bicyclists lined up after breakfast Sunday morning, Sept. 17, in front of the Lake Almanor Elks Lodge in Chester for the 20th annual Randy Fossum Memorial Wheels Around Lake Almanor (WALA) bike ride, a fundraiser to benefit community programs and charitable offerings sponsored by the Elks throughout the year. Ten of the riders were handcyclists.

Randy Fossum, a paraplegic handcyclist who has since passed away, is one of the originators of the WALA ride 20 years ago.

Participants paid $34 in registration fees, which included a spaghetti feast at the Elks Lodge building the night before the biking event. Elks Esquire Terry Parsons said they ask for that particular amount because that’s one dollar for every mile around the lake, adding that handcyclists are not asked for donations.

Parsons emphasized that the event is just a fun and leisurely journey and not a race, where riders could enjoy the lakeside scenery while raising funds for a worthy cause.

Proceeds, including donations from a number of community sponsors, brought in at least $2,500 to the Elks, said Parsons, with additional donations expected over the next few weeks from mailings sent out to supporters who couldn’t be present for the ride.

The two-hour tour took bikers around the perimeter of Lake Almanor on a cool, but sunny day, where they stopped enroute at various rest stops manned by volunteer groups, including Chester Community United Methodist Church, ARPD, Lake Almanor Rotary, and the Almanor West Shore Alliance.

At each stop, riders took a minute or two to quench their thirst with much needed water or Gatorade, and to snack on nutritious food items to keep their energy levels up.

Once they returned to the lodge after the trip, a free lunch was provided to those who donated at the previous night’s dinner, Parsons added, which included hamburgers and hot dogs, along with soft drinks.

Parsons wanted to let the community know that the Lake Almanor Elks were grateful to the community and to the volunteers for their support, and pledged to return that support to those in need,

To donate to the Lake Almanor Elks Lodge, call Terry Parsons at 258-9447.