The McPherson College community is planning to take to the road Saturday in remembrance of a popular student tragically killed in a vehicle-vs.-bicycle accident last month.
The McPherson College community is planning to take to the road Saturday in remembrance of a popular student tragically killed in a vehicle-vs.-bicycle accident last month. Paul Ziegler was a sophomore majoring in business whom many remembered as an extraordinary individual who represented the best of what the college has to offer. He was killed on Sept. 23 when a vehicle driven by a 17-year-old rural McPherson youth swerved into Ziegler’s path as he rode his bicycle on 18th Avenue as the driver was reaching for something he dropped. Erik Steffens, a senior at McPherson College, was Ziegler’s resident adviser in Dotzour Hall and said students were looking for a way to memorialize Ziegler when a member of the tennis team mentioned he was attempting to ride his bike 2,000 miles in a single year. Ziegler was 797 miles into his goal when the accident happened. “We thought it might be a great way to memorialize him by helping to finish out his goal,” Steffens said. The idea was pitched to student government, and a committee was formed to bring together Pedals for Paul Saturday afternoon as part of McPherson College’s homecoming celebration. Brian Lundberg, a web developer with the college, also is a bike rider and decided to pitch in to make sure Ziegler’s goal is reached by having a 20-mile bike ride starting from Miller Library. “The idea is for all those riders on Saturday to combine to reach (Ziegler’s) 2,000-mile goal,” Lundberg said. Lundberg said they are hoping for about 40 to 60 riders to turn out on Saturday for the ride, which will take them from the campus to First Street, then east to 17th Avenue, then turning north to Pawnee Road before coming to a rest stop at 21st Avenue. Riders will then follow the reverse course back to the college. “If we get 60 riders on the 20-mile ride, we should have the 1,200 miles to complete Paul’s goal,” Lundberg said. Lundberg said they had 20 to 30 riders already committed as of Wednesday afternoon, though alumni from around the nation who aren’t able to be there Saturday also will keep track of their mileage and provide it toward the final count. Additionally, stationary bikes will be set up in the small gym of the McPherson Sport Center from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, allowing those who wish to contribute but can’t participate in the 20-mile ride to do so. A log of all the miles will be tallied up and announced at the Bulldog Bash homecoming dinner Saturday night. The event is open to anyone in the community. Registration for the ride begins at 1 p.m. Saturday at Miller Library. While a donation jar for the Paul Ziegler Memorial Fund will be provided at the college for anyone who wishes to make a donation, Steffens said that wasn’t the aim of the event. “We’re just trying to remember Paul for how he was and the positive impression he gave of McPherson College,” Steffens said. “We just want to keep his name involved in the college and serve as a role model for others.”