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Cycling for a Cause

Article Published: Sep. 22, 2011 | Modified: Oct. 31, 2011
Cycling for a Cause

Cristof Ensslin and Phillip Eichhorn are traveling the length of the Blue Ridge Parkway to raise funds for the Eliada Homes program.

Photo by Jeff Eason

First it was runners, then it was cyclists.

The weekend before last, Blowing Rock was the midpoint for a 208-mile Blue Ridge Relay Race that began at Grayson Highlands State Park in Virginia and ended in Asheville.

Last weekend, it was bicyclists who came through town during the middle stages of the Cycling the Blue Ridge Parkway for a Cause event. The cyclists began their journey last week at Blue Ridge Parkway Milepost 0 at Buena Vista/Vesuvius, Va., and concluded the ride at Milepost 469 in Cherokee, N.C.

“Eight cycling days with only two rest days in between, that’s how we are defining the stages of the bicycling tour that is going to lead us through the Blue Ridge Mountains,” said Cristof Ensslin, organizer of the bike ride.

“We are doing it not only for our personal fun and pleasure, but also to raise funds for the Eliada Homes in Asheville, which is helping children succeed.”

Eliada Homes has a campus in West Asheville and sponsors numerous programs that help children learn about the world around them. In one program, children maintain a farm and learn how to take care of various animals, such as a donkey, several horses, cats and a llama.

Joining Ensslin on the 469-mile ride was his friend, Phillip Eichhorn, from Hamburg, Germany. Sophia Ojha drove their support vehicle. Prior to the bike ride, the three friends solicited sponsors from businesses and individuals around the Asheville area.

Along the journey down “America’s Favorite Drive,” the trio videotaped their adventures and posted them online at

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