Summer is the season to enjoy the outdoors, and what better way to do so than on a bike? Non-profit foundations nationwide are using this fun, healthy form of exercise to promote their causes. Many charity bike rides welcome cyclists of all levels and by participating, you can raise awareness and funds for social good. What are you waiting for? Grab a bike and join the ride! We’ll help you get started with our Top 8 picks for the summer:
1) Tour de Cure Location: 44 states Date: Multiple dates, but mostly late spring or summer Length: Check your state’s schedule Cause: Funds support the American Diabetes Foundation, which aims to prevent and cure diabetes and to improve the lives of those affected.
Tour de Cure takes place all over the country. Each tour has its own unique character with varying levels of difficulty, so beginners and experts alike will be able to find a ride that suits them and their schedule. Full route support is provided, including surveillance vehicles to keep you safe, bike mechanics for equipment malfunctions, and full rest stops with food and drink to keep you fueled.
2) Harpoon Point to Point Location: Vermont Date: August 8 Length: 25, 50, or 100 miles Cause: Alleviates the growing problem of hunger in Vermont. Funds raised will benefit the Vermont Food Bank, the state’s largest hunger-relief organization.
Participants may choose from one of three rides, varying in length for bikers of all levels. To date, the event has raised over $900,000 for the Vermont Food Bank! The ride ends at the Harpoon Brewery in historic Windsor, Vermont, where a fun, lively party awaits cyclists – BBQ, beer, and live music included.
3) Best Buddies Challenge Location:California, and Florida Date: September 12, or November 20, 2015 Length: 15, 30, 50, 62, or 100 miles Cause: Raises funds for Best Buddies International, a global volunteer movement that helps people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
The Best Buddies Challenge takes place in multiple states and varies in length for bikers of all skill levels. Participants can create one-on-one friendships and provide employment and leadership development opportunities to those with disabilities. All rides end with a beachside celebration of their efforts, complete with gourmet food, drinks, celebrity guests, and live entertainment.
4) Get Your Guts In Gear Location: Sandusky, Ohio Date: Aug 15-16, 2015 Length: 10, 30, 62, or 100 miles Cause: Increases dialogue surrounding Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and related conditions. These multi-day cycling events benefit and support inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) organizations and patient advocacy groups.
The GYGIG Ride takes place in Ohio, providing the opportunity to connect with patients, family, and friends who are affected by Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Your ride will raise awareness and funds for the support that IBD patients need.
5) Climate Ride Location: North Atlantic, Northern California, The Midwest, Montana/Canada Date: Multiple dates Length: 200-300 miles Cause: Raises awareness for and supports sustainability, active transportation, and environmental causes.
Climate Ride is more than just a charity ride; it also hosts a Speaker Series each evening of the rides, claiming the title of “a fundraiser and green conference on wheels”. The route is challenging, but participants will learn about creating a cleaner, healthier planet and how to inspire social change along the way. The NYC-DC Ride even schedules appointments for participants to meet with their congressional representatives at the end of their ride in Washington D.C.
6) Pedal the Cause Location: Saint Louis, Missouri Date: September 26-27, 2015 Length: 18, 25, 37.5, 50, 75, 100 miles Cause: 100% of donations go to the Siteman Cancer Center and St. Louis Children’s Hospital to advance lifesaving cancer research.
In just 5 years, Pedal The Cause has raised over $9.3 million dollars for adult and pediatric cancer research projects. Riders may choose from one of six distances and also have the option of spinning. For anyone out of town or not interested in riding, they may still participate as a “Virtual Rider” to support the cause.
7) Ride to End Alzheimer’s Location: Devens, Massachusetts Date: July 18, 2015 Length: Family Ride, 30, 62, 100 miles Cause: 90% of money raised by RIDE participants fund RIDE grants awarded through the Association's research grants program. 10% of the proceeds stay in Massachusetts and New Hampshire to fund programs and services that assist families affected by Alzheimer's disease.
This family-friendly event features rides that everyone can participate in. By riding, you will play a crucial role in supporting research that advances understanding of Alzheimer's disease and potential treatment strategies.
8) Bike MS Location: Locations nationwide Date: Multiple dates, but mostly summer and early fall Length: Varies widely Cause: Benefits the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and its programs, services, and research.
The National MS Society holds an array of fundraising events including cycling, walking, and a mud-filled obstacle course. Bike MS rides take place all over the country and provide an invigorating challenge for those wanting to make a real impact in the MS community.
With options like these, there's no excuse not to give back. So, harness your pedal power for good, and hop on two wheels for any of these fantastic causes!