Around 150 bike riders pedaled up and down scenic Highway 1 under mostly gloomy skies Saturday, June 22, helping to raise $23,000 to bring some sunshine to youth groups in Cambria again this year.
It was the 19th annual Gene Cerise Country Classic Bike Ride, produced by the nonprofit Country Coast Classic Bike Ride. The Lions Club of Cambria presented the BBQ (tri-tip, salmon and veggie lasagna) provided by many volunteers and offered the Pinedorado facilities for the event.
Riders chose between trekking north along the coast for the 25- or 50-mile jaunt or up and down Highway 46 and then north to Ragged Point for 75 miles. Gene Cerise was an avid cyclist who founded the Country Coast Classic Bike Ride in 2001 to raise funds for the Cambria Youth Center. Cerise died after a bout with leukemia in 2004, but local bike enthusiasts — including the Cambria group “Slabtown Rollers” — continued the fundraiser in Cerise’s honor.
“It was a super ride, good support, and great food,” said Cambria resident Joost Teunissen, who on his fifth ride (he chose the 75-mile challenge).
Physical therapist Sheri Baldwin, proprietor of Cambria Physical Therapy and owner of Gym One, rode the 50-mile leg with her husband Glenn. It was her 19th year as a participant.
“This year the weather was perfect,” she said in an email interview. “But what I enjoy most about this ride, and I do a lot of these organized distance rides, is the food. Bar none, the best food at the rest stops.”
Baldwin, who won a silver medal in the road race at the USA Cycling Masters Road Nationals two years ago in Georgia (plus two bronze medals in other events), said, “I love that the ride dollars earned goes to the youth.”
Country Coast Classic grants made following the 2018 ride — administered through the local funding nonprofit Cambria Community Council — totaled $22,150.
Programs at the Cambria Grammar School (including the after-school YMCA curriculum) received $7,550 in 2018.
The Santa Lucia Middle School received 6,000 (for field trips and after-school programs), and activities at Coast Union High School benefited as well.
Other grants included the Cambria Bike Kitchen, Boy Scout and Girl Scout events, and Marine Corps Toys for Tots.
The 2020 Gene Cerise Country Coast Classic Bike Ride is scheduled for June 27. For more information, call 805-927-1017 or visit www.countrycoastclassic.org.