500-MILE BIKE RIDE ENDS IN KEY WEST; RAISES MONEY FOR INTERNATIONAL KIDS

From left, Chris Furr, Bob Frankis, Bob Carman, Tim B., Lou and Harris Hickman pause to enjoy a spectacular view of the Florida Keys. JOSHUA DYER/Contributed

Sixty-seven bicyclists pedaled and persevered for 500 miles on a five-day mission to raise money and awareness for global youth issues.

The 2021 Key West Bike Ride was the 10th annual ride. 

The cyclists, each part of the nonprofit Ends of the Earth mission organization, left Fort Myers on March 20 and arrived in Key West March 24. The group spent the nights in host churches along the way.

This year’s Key West Bike Ride raised money and support to help combat the trafficking of children in Romania.

Although the Romanian Revolution occurred in December 1989, the effects of Communism are still evident today in the rural areas of Romania. Given the crippling socio-economic conditions, Romania ranks second among the top countries-of-origin (the country where a trafficked person came from before being trafficked) for victims of human trafficking in the European Union.

Those who live in rural or marginalized areas and those with little-to-no education are the most susceptible to fall into the hands of traffickers. Ends of the Earth’s Children-At-Risk programs currently provide material and spiritual support for more than 750 at-risk kids.

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Mandy Miles drops stuff, breaks things and falls down more than any adult should. An award-winning writer, reporter and columnist, she's been stringing words together in Key West since 1998. "Local news is crucial," she says. "It informs and connects a community. It prompts conversation. It gets people involved, holds people accountable. The Keys Weekly takes its responsibility seriously. Our owners are raising families in Key West & Marathon. Our writers live in the communities we cover - Key West, Marathon & the Upper Keys. We respect our readers. We question our leaders. We believe in the Florida Keys community. And we like to have a good time." Mandy's married to a saintly — and handy — fishing captain, and can't imagine living anywhere else.