FRANCONIA — Since 2002, Honduras Hope has worked with the "poorest of the poor" in one of the most economically challenged and violent countries in the world, and later this month, for the second year in a row, bicycle enthusiasts will have a chance to help the helpers.
On Sept. 27, riders are once again invited to participate in the Granite State Grind and Roll, which, depending on one’s preference, can be a challenging or very challenging roll through the Franconia Notch area.
Presented by Common Man restaurants and the Franconia Community Church, the Grind and Roll offers riders two routes: the “Gonzo Pass,” which goes through three mountain notches, features 5,000 feet of climbing and extends 92 miles, or the somewhat gentler “Old Man Roll,” which is 38 miles long and boasts two notches and 2,500 feet of climbing.
The event begins Sept. 26 at the church with a spaghetti supper provided by The Common Man’s Italian Farmhouse; non-riding guests are invited. Tickets for guests are $8 for adults, $5 for children ages 5-11 and free for children under age 5.
The Grind and Roll begins the next day with a continental breakfast and ends with a barbecue, courtesy of The Common Man, which guests may also attend. Riders can preregister at granitestategrind.org or on the day of the event at the Franconia Community Church, located at 44 Church St.
Registration for the Old Man Roll is $50 a rider for preregistered teams of five or more riders and $60 for an individual rider in advance or $70 the day of the event. Registration for the Gonzo Pass is $70 a rider for pre-registered teams of five or more and $80 for an individual rider when purchased in advance or $100 the day of the event.
All proceeds will benefit Honduras Hope, hondurashope.org, the third organization that its founder, the Rev. Dr. Bill Briggs, has worked with since first going to Honduras in the 1980s.
Honduras Hope has no physical offices and operates on an annual budget of less than $100,000, which it uses to cover the costs of projects in Yoro Department among the Tolupan Indians.
Honduras Hope works with communities to create “sustainable food and water sources, extend education beyond the Honduran-required sixth grade, provide access to basic medical services and create opportunities for jobs.”
The nonprofit recently partnered with Common Man founder Alex Ray to operate a culinary school that Ray built and equipped in Honduras.
Four times a year, most recently in August, Honduras Hope volunteers, at their own expense, travel to Honduras to work on a variety of projects, all of which are selected by members of the communities they will serve.
Honduras Hope has built a community center, two elementary schools, a medical clinic, a boarding house for students attending public school, and has also provided the Tolupan with a tractor.
Additionally, Honduras Hope pays the tuition for students to attend post-primary schools, supports two nutrition programs, operates the health clinic and is working to establish a beauty school.