Pedaling for Pets

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Ashley and Brandon Christensen, pictured with their dog Nibbles, are taking on their own Pedaling for Pets challenge this summer. They will be bicycling 750 miles from Prairie du Chien to the Bayfield area and back, from Aug. 16 to Sept. 6. They have eight checkpoints along the way, where they will stop at animal shelters and humane societies to gain knowledge and spread awareness about Rivers and Bluffs Animal Shelter. All funds raised from this journey will benefit RABAS and its efforts toward building a local animal shelter.


Pedaling for Pets fundraising challenge taking couple on a 750-mile bike ride

By Correne Martin


In lieu of a vacation this summer, Prairie du Chien residents Ashley and Brandon Christensen will bicycle 750 miles around Wisconsin to raise awareness and funds for Rivers and Bluffs Animal Shelter (RABAS). They will stop at eight checkpoints along the way and meet with humane societies and animal shelters in those communities to gather information that might be helpful to RABAS, which plans to build its own animal shelter for the area. They’ve labeled their journey Pedaling for Pets.

On Aug. 16, the energetic young couple plans to leave Prairie du Chien and head toward Viroqua, where they will first meet with the Vernon County Humane Society. Second, they will travel toward Sparta and stop at the Monroe County Animal Shelter. Third, they will visit Tomah and its Chasing Daylight Animal Shelter. The fourth stop will be in Marshfield, where the two will meet with the Marshfield Area Pet Shelter, which is similar to RABAS in that they have no physical shelter at this time but have had land donated toward one. The next and northern-most stop for Ashley and Brandon will be in Park Falls (near Bayfield) at the Catkins Animal Rescue. Sixth, they will drop down to the Northwoods Humane Society in Hayward. Seventh, they will stop in Eau Claire at Bob’s House for Dogs, which is literally a fun house where disabled and senior dogs can roam freely. Finally, before heading back to Prairie du Chien, they will check in at the Coulee Region Humane Society in La Crosse. Their plan is for the trip to take three weeks and end around Sept. 6.

“In the next couple of weeks, we will be driving the route to scout out the roads and campgrounds where we want to stay,” Ashley said. “We would also like to stop at the shelters, drop off posters and start creating excitement about us passing through those communities.”

The day they leave, Ashley said, they hope to have a sendoff celebration in Prairie du Chien, though details of that haven’t been finalized yet. The couple’s goal is to average 80 miles of pedaling per day. 

“It’s scary. We are training but it’s not going to be easy,” Ashley said. “This is a personal challenge for us and we really don’t want to let those animals down.”

The idea for Pedaling for Pets came to the Christensens this past winter when they had a conversation about achievements they had listed on their personal bucket lists. “I mentioned I would like to do a long-distance bike ride,” Ashley said. “My husband said he had always wanted to do that too and was totally on board with it.” Next, they decided to choose a charitable cause near and dear to their animal-loving hearts, which is where RABAS came in. The pair are members of the animal shelter group and owners of a dog, two cats and a turtle.

“The members of RABAS have invested so much time and money into building a shelter and we want to help make a difference, more than just volunteering at a bake sale,” Ashley stated.

The Christensens have determined a number of fundraising avenues to help them reach their goal, a lofty $10,000. They started a Go Fund Me website, Pedaling for Pets (as well as a Facebook page).They are selling T-shirts. They are organizing a bowling tournament for June 7, at 11 a.m., at Leisure Time, in Prairie du Chien. It will be an eight-pin tap tourney with four to five people per team and also involve a pulled pork lunch with dessert, a silent auction, DJ and karaoke, raffles and more. And, during their adventures around Wisconsin, they will seek donations from businesses and corporations in the communities they pass through. 

“We’re sending out letters soon to the businesses. We’re encouraging people to pledge so much if we make it to a certain checkpoint,” Ashley noted. 

All proceeds will benefit the Rivers and Bluffs Animal Shelter as they work toward constructing a regional shelter in Prairie du Chien.

When they stop at each shelter along the route, Ashley and Brandon will take pictures and ask questions specific to how the establishments are run, what fundraisers have worked well, what could be done differently in building a shelter, etc. Also, they plan to present each shelter with items from their wish lists.

Ultimately, in addition to the money raised, the couple simply hopes to spread awareness and build knowledge about RABAS across the state. 

“We want to turn this into something big, something that people across Wisconsin get behind and support,” Ashley said.

For more information, to donate to the cause, to sign up for the bowling tournament or to purchase a bright yellow Pedaling for Pets T-shirt, contact Ashley at 412-0680 or

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