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Spin doctors: 24-hour Spinathon starts Friday on the Riverwalk downtown

Perhaps you managed to hang onto a full head of hair through the St. Baldrick’s season. It doesn’t mean you don’t care about putting a stop to childhood cancer; perhaps you’d simply rather display your mettle on the pedal.

Here’s your chance.

The Bike Bald 24-Hour Spinathon will get pedaling at 4 p.m. Friday at the Dandelion Fountain, at the foot of Webster Street on the Riverwalk in downtown Naperville.

Organizer Debbie Mossburg said all three stationary bikes that will be used for the event are already filled with registrants for the ride, being sponsored by the Naperville Park District and North Central College to help raise awareness for pediatric cancer research. But they’ll be happy to share their seats.

“We left some ‘walk-by’ spaces for people to ride,” said Mossburg, noting that there is no registration fee or fundraising requirement. “We just have to keep the pedals moving for 24 hours.”

A 2 1/2-minute shift change is permitted between riders, but otherwise the wheels will spin continuously for the full 24 hours.

The ride will include a four-hour “PJ party” during the overnight hours, when riders will be encouraged to sport pajamas. Following that, participants between 2 and 3 a.m. are invited to wear the logo of their favorite collegiate team. At 4 a.m., riders are being asked to put on their loudest neon-colored attire, to help wake things up. And from 5 to 6 a.m., they’ll spin, sip coffee and read the newspaper, wearing bathrobes. Themed trivia hours will be scattered throughout the ride, and snacks are scheduled at certain points.

And there’s no hurry to finish the ride.

“You can pedal at any speed,” said Mossburg, who lives in Naperville. “If you do five revolutions in a half hour, that’s OK. You use your own pace. It’s not a race.”

A lineup of sponsors help raise the event’s profile and proceeds. Donations will help support children fighting cancer.

Mossburg, who had a bout with cancer at age 6 and another in adulthood, is quick to share credit for Bike Bald and its mission with others in the organization, and the local businesses that believe in the cause.

“It’s not just about me. There are friends involved, and people in the community. We’ve all been touched by cancer in one way or another,” she said.

The nonprofit has a variety of events and activities planned in the coming months, including a bike rodeo for kids on May 10 that’s being promoted with help from signs erected recently around town, bearing the word “Neptune” and a variety of cryptic messages. Having been touched by cancer, everyone pitches in.

“It’s all of us, doing everything. We sell cupcakes,” Mossburg said, alluding to the booth the group hosts at the west end of the Naperville Farmers Market on Saturday mornings in summer and fall. “We do whatever we can. It’s a definite grass-roots effort.”

It’s also catching the attention of entities well beyond the city limits. A group representing Bike Bald will cross the big pond for a big event in the last week of July.

“We have been selected for the collaborative work we are doing to support children with cancer, to ride in the Tour de France Pro for a Cure ride,” Mossburg said in an email.

The selection wasn’t an accident. The group’s website relates that organizers lost a friend to brain cancer last September, shortly after newly formed Bike Bald held its inaugural event.

“An inspiration and friend, she loved to ride her bike and (was) an avid fan of the Tour de France,” the site states. “Upon receiving the news and just days after, a few participants of the ‘Bike Bald’ group had gotten together to see how we can honor her. It didn’t take long to decide how, and what we needed to do.”

More information can be found at www.bikebald.com.

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