Local Wayne resident cycling in 20th Habitat 500 Bike Ride

Pastor Jim Splitt (right) and his wife, Kathleen (left) pose with the Habitat partner family for the Habitat for Humanity Thrivent Partner Build. The Splitts are currently biking to raise funds for this build.

Since 1993, the Habitat 500 Bike Ride has sent cyclists across Minnesota and the surrounding Midwest annually to raise funds and awareness for Habitat for Humanity. 

Over seven days, riders biked up to 500 miles. In 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ride went virtual for the first time. As we await safe reopening, the 2021 Habitat 500 is building on 2020’s success with another Habitat 500: Bike @ Home!

The Bike @ Home gives participants flexibility to set fundraising and mileage goals while biking in their own neighborhoods. When a rider signs up, each gets their own fundraising page, social support from private Facebook and Strava groups, and materials to support their cycling and fund-raising. Wayne resident and pastor, Jim Splitt. will be riding his 20th Habitat 500 this year!

Splitt recalls first hearing about the Ride when he was a pastor in Glendale, Ohio. “I was challenged to do the ride to help raise money for our new Habitat family in Glendale,” shared Splitt. “I’d never biked over 20 miles and I didn’t have a very good bike. I bought a new bike and signed up for the ride.” A few years later, Splitt passed the bike onto a new rider (who is near celebrating 20 years with the Ride now as well).

Since 2002, the Habitat 500 Bike Ride has raised over $5.6 million for Habitat for Humanity. In 2020 alone, more than 140 cyclists raised over $283,000! When asked “What brings you back to the Habitat 500 each year,” Splitt answered, “That’s simple! The purpose of Habitat for Humanity, the fellowship of the ride and the physical accomplishment of biking 500 miles and training as many.” 

Providing safe and affordable homes is a huge goal for Habitat, and something the Ride works to support, whether riders are gathered or biking in their own communities. Splitt has also been closely involved with Habitat builds over the years. “Every year when we ride, we ride for a family. ‘Don’t raise money for yourself, raise money for the family you’re riding for,’” is advice Splitt shares with other riders.

Splitt’s connection to fellow riders goes beyond biking buddies. He and his wife, Kathleen, celebrated their honeymoon on a Habitat 500 Ride in 1997, and they’ve biked and volunteered together many years since! Splitt also fondly remembers other close friends made through the ride, meeting Jimmy and Roslyn Carter in Eagle Butte, South Dakota, and, like many riders, enjoying Dairy Queen treats after finishing rides. Together or apart, the Habitat 500 supports Habitat for Humanity’s mission around the state, country, and world through its community of supporters, raising funds and awareness for affordable homeownership.

For more information on how to get involved, please visit habitat500.org. To support Jim, donate online: https://p2p.onecause.com/habitat500/jim-splitt.

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