AUBURN — Nearly 950 cyclists in Auburn and homes across Alabama took part in the annual "Bo Bikes Bama" ride on Saturday to raise money for victims of natural disasters.

Bo Bikes Bama is an annual charity bike ride led by Auburn two-sports legend Bo Jackson, supporting the Alabama Governor's Emergency Relief Fund, which provides disaster preparedness and emergency management resources for the state of Alabama.

The 12th annual ride in Auburn offered two options, a 60-mile ride and a 20-mile ride for all skill levels. Riders could also sign up for the at-home option, where riders could participate in any activity of their choosing from anywhere in the country.

According to the Bo Bikes Bama website, on the first anniversary of the April 2011 storms that claimed the lives and homes of many Alabamians, Bo embarked on a five-day journey across the state of Alabama, visiting many of the towns ravaged by the tornadoes. Bo Bikes Bama became an annual event in April 2013, when Bo returned to Alabama for a one-day ride in Cordova, one of the hardest hit cities of the 2011 outbreak. The ride has been hosted in Auburn ever since.

"It's a ride for a good cause," Jackson said before the ride started. "Tornadoes have come through the state and taken a lot of lives. We're just trying to put a little sunshine in the survivors' day." 

The ride has raised approximately $2.5 million for natural disaster relief since the first event in 2012.

"This is our second year back fully in person since COVID," Rebecca Falls, ride director with Trek Travel, told 1819 News. "We had to cancel in 2020. In 2021 we did a limited VIP-only event. Last year and this year we've been back in full force."

Lance Armstrong and actor Andre Holland were in attendance. A Friday golf event with Jackson was also added to the event in 2023, with plans for it also to be offered in 2024, according to Falls.

Money raised by Bo Bikes Bama goes to support the Alabama Governor's Emergency Relief Fund, which provides funds for natural disaster relief and the construction of community safe rooms and warning sirens across the state.

"Twelve years ago in April of 2011 tornadoes ripped through Alabama and Bo acted immediately to help make a difference by establishing state unity and camaraderie," Gov. Kay Ivey said.

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