A friendly fleet of bicycle enthusiasts from across California and the western United States will arrive in Cambria in June for a bike ride that benefits the youth of Cambria, San Simeon and Cayucos.
The 18th annual Gene Cerise Memorial Country Coast Classic Bike Ride on June 23 offers an opportunity for riders to cruise along the splendid Pacific Coast, with three rides to choose from.
There is the popular 25-mile ride from the Pinedorado Grounds north on Highway 1 to the Elephant Seal Rookery and back, a short and sweet excursion.
The 45-mile intermediate challenge takes the rider north to Ragged Point and back, with just one tough hill.
Finally, the 72-mile Country Coast Classic route takes advanced cyclists south on Highway 1, east to the summit of Highway 46, and back, then up to Ragged Point and back. It's a very challenging trek.
There are frequent rest stops along the way, with drinks, fruit, homemade cookies and other snacks. Volunteer drivers provide service and gear support, and there's a post-ride barbeque along with local wines and beers.
Cambria cyclist Gene Cerise organized the first Country Coast Classic Bike Ride to benefit the Cambria Youth Center in 2001. Cerise died of leukemia in 2004.
In 2017, the bike ride raised a total of $23,275 for youth activities.
Those included a YMCA summer camp and a Nature Bridge experience at Yosemite National Park for Cambria Grammar School; a leadership conference and trips to Monterey Bay Aquarium and San Francisco for Santa Lucia Middle School; and library renovation, the Interact Club and the Safe & Sober Grad program for Coast Union High School.
In addition, Coast Unified School District campuses received funds for school clothes, homework assistance and performing arts clubs, plus grants for teachers through the Cambria Education Foundation.
Other beneficiaries were the Cambria Bike Kitchen, the Cambria Youth Athletic Association and a dental program for under-served children.
Bike ride registration
Riders can register in advance online or in person beginning at 7 a.m. Jun 23 at the Pinedorado Grounds in Cambria. Registered riders can check in as early 4 to 5:30 p.m. June 22, at the Santa Rosa Church Hall.
Registration costs $55 to $65, or $25 for ages 12 and under, per ride, and is tax-deductible.