EDITOR’S NOTE: Thanks to Leigh Pate for this story about Obliteride — a Fred Hutchinson fundraiser she supports — and a program to help folks borrow a bike for the fundraising ride. Note that the deadline to borrow a bike is today (my bad). Leigh is a Seattle-based writer, consultant, breast cancer survivor and second-year Obliteride rider. You can learn more about why Leigh rides here.
“Just six weeks ago my father rode a hundred miles. He was so strong — at age 67 his younger friends couldn’t keep up with him,” said Claire Reinert of Seattle.
“A few days ago he just got his second round of chemo for pancreatic cancer. It just came out of the blue. He was signed up to ride the hundred-mile Obliteride route. This ride meant a lot to him. Now I’m riding in his place.”
Claire is joining hundreds of other riders participating in Obliteride on August 9 to raise money for Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Like most other riders who have asked their friends for donations and spent hours training, Claire is driven by the urgency to find a cure faster. It’s personal.
Claire is also one of the riders who signed up for Obliteride’s Borrow-a-Bike, a new project for riders who don’t have a bicycle or who are traveling and can’t afford the expense of transporting their own bike to Seattle.
Borrow-a-Bike is courtesy of Obliteride partner Bicycle Adventures of Redmond, a bike touring company offering fully supported multi-day cycling tours in the United States, Canada, New Zealand, Spain and Taiwan.
“Many times people borrow a bike to participate in a ride like this that doesn’t fit or is poorly maintained and they have a bad experience,” said Todd Starnes, co-owner of Bicycle Adventures. “Our goal is to make sure these new riders have a good experience, and they choose to ride Obliteride again and they keep cycling long after Obliteride ends.”
Bicycle Adventures is making thirty bikes available to registrants who need a bike the day of the ride. So far half the available bikes have been claimed. Participants in the 10, 25 or 50-mile routes simply note on their ride registration that they need a bike, their height and inseam and a custom-built, triple-geared Marin hybrid in their size will be waiting at the start line.
Borrow-a-Bike is helping several riders complete their first organized ride.
Annie Scaglione from Denver is flying to Seattle with her husband and four-month old baby to ride the 25-mile route. She is joining her entire family, uniting to ride together to grieve a recent family loss and hoping their efforts will help her five-year old niece, Allistaire, who was treated at Seattle Children’s and the Hutch for leukemia and received a bone-marrow transplant. Allistaire has relapsed.
For Annie, this ride is about healing, and turning tragedy into something good. The Borrow-a-Bike program allows her to concentrate on what matters most: Her family.
“I was struggling to figure out how to get my bike up here for the ride. Both my husband and I teach high-school, and transporting a bike is so expensive. Plus we are already lugging baby gear. Being able to borrow a bike makes it easy.”
For Erin Greenwood, a graduate student doing her PhD research on breast cancer at the University of Arizona and “not a serious biker”, the Borrow-a-Bike program saved the difficulty of shipping her road bike, and the custom sizing meant she knew she could have a bike that would comfortably fit her 6’3′ frame. Erin is riding the 50-mile route with her mother and brother in honor of her father, who died from Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma when she was five years old. “As a cancer researcher, I think the work the Hutch does is amazing,” Erin said.
Obliteride rolls out August 9th with routes ranging from ten miles to a hundred, or a two-day route that starts August 8th and rides around Puget Sound. The ride has raised over a million dollars so far this year, and all money raised will go towards conducting innovative, high-impact cancer research at Fred Hutch.
There is still time to register. Participants can raise funds and meet their fundraising minimum until September 30th. Registrants can request to Borrow-a-Bike through July 31st.
Claire initially needed to Borrow-a-Bike when she first registered for Obliteride. However in the weeks since registering, she purchased her first road bike and will ride her first organized ride on her own wheels.
“I’m embracing the sport that my father loves so much”, she said.
Claire, whose longest ride so far is 45 miles round-trip from Ballard to Redhook, is tackling the 50-mile route this year.
“I’ve learned these last weeks that I’m the crazy rider who likes hills. Next year, and every year after that, I’m riding the century. Because 100% of the proceeds go to cancer research, and that’s the most important thing.
“It means a lot to him that I’m taking his place and doing this ride. I’m just grateful for the opportunity to help. ”