Posted by Mary Wimberley on 2009-04-16

More than 140 bicyclists are pre-registered for Saturday's fifth annual Old Howard 100 Bike Ride through the countryside of Alabama's black belt. The ride, sponsored by Samford University's Howard College of Arts and Sciences, begins at 9 a.m. at Judson College in Marion, where Samford was founded as Howard College in 1841.

According to Bike Ride co-organizer Bridget Rose, the roster includes riders from New York, Florida, Mississippi and towns throughout Alabama. Several families with multi-generational riders are signed on. Samford president Andrew Westmoreland and his wife, Jeanna, plan to bike the first 15-mile leg of the 100-mile route.

Rose advises that while some weather forecast models predict a small chance of showers early on Saturday, skies are expected to clear and the ride will take place as scheduled. Additional updates, as needed, will be posted on the Samford website:

For the first time, the Old Howard's 100-mile route will take riders into Selma before returning to Marion.

Proceeds from the ride will benefit Sowing Seeds of Hope, a partnership between Perry County and the Alabama Cooperative Baptist Fellowship that works to improve quality of life and work in the area.

Riders can register on site at Judson Saturday morning for $45. Students can register for $15.

The five Support and Gear stops and other stations are manned by Samford volunteers, including student members of the Perry County Advisory Council, Beta Alpha Psi and Alpha Lambda Delta honor societies, and Sigma Chi, Sigma Phi Epsilon and Pi Kappa Phi fraternities.

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.