Greenbrier High School senior Ethan St. Martin's first bike ride did not go well.
"I hit a mailbox. I was about 3 years old, and that put (bike riding) on hold for about two years," he said.
He has been passionate about the sport ever since he learned to ride, though.
This passion also has served him well by becoming the basis of his senior project -- and a charitable cause.
Ethan, 17, is organizing Bike Across the River, a fundraiser Sunday that will benefit Appling residents Lisa and Neal Shead. Lisa Shead is a secretary at Greenbrier, and her husband, Neal, is undergoing expensive leukemia treatments.
Although he has never met Neal Shead, Ethan said, "Mrs. Shead was extremely grateful. Every time she sees me, she's got a beaming smile."
The ride, which will begin at Savannah Rapids Pavilion, is scheduled from 1 to 5 p.m.
The cyclists will begin at Savannah Rapids, follow the Augusta Canal towpath, cross the 13th Street bridge into North Augusta, continue through River Golf Club and stop at the North Augusta Greeneway fire pit.
Ethan said refreshments will be set up at the fire pit. Cyclists can end their ride at the Greeneway for a 10-mile trip or return to Savannah Rapids for a 20-mile round trip.
Registration fees are $15 for adults and $10 for children ages 5 to 12. There is no charge for children ages 4 and under.
Ethan said he hopes to raise $500 to $750.
He said he will be too busy to ride the route, but he has ridden the course about 10 times to map it out for the event.
Securing donations from The Kroger Co. and Publix Supermarkets and advertising the event also have been part of the planning process.
"It's a lot more intensive than most people would think," Ethan said.
He said he never has organized a public event before, but he has picked up a couple of tips from the project.
"Do not procrastinate. You definitely want to have good organizational skills, planning skills. It's definitely not for the faint of heart," he said.
Ethan said donations will be accepted from people who do not participate in the bike ride. For more information, call (706) 860-7507 or visit www.myspace.com/ride_across_the_river.
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