The Cambrian

Gavin Newsom, Maria Shriver leading Best Buddies bike ride on Saturday

Cyclists at the starting line for the 15-mile "Best Buddies Challenge: Hearst Castle" ride in 2008.
Cyclists at the starting line for the 15-mile "Best Buddies Challenge: Hearst Castle" ride in 2008.

A major fundraising bike ride makes its way Saturday along Highway 1 from Carmel through Big Sur to Old San Simeon Village.

This year’s Best Buddies Challenge: Hearst Castle event will honor Steve Hearst, vice president and general manager of Hearst Corp. Western Properties and great-grandson of the late media magnate William Randolph Hearst, on Saturday evening at the Hearst Ranch.

This is the ninth year for the Best Buddies fundraiser. It begins Friday evening in Carmel. Saturday, riders have their choice of going 100 miles south to San Simeon, or signing up for 62-, 30- and 15-mile routes.

Leading the effort again this year are Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and author/journalist Maria Shriver.

Among other celebrities expected among the 1,500 participants are actors Michael Chiklis, Rob Lowe, Vern Troyer and Lauren Potter and “Entertainment Tonight” host Nancy O’Dell.

After the ride, Olympic gold medalist Carl Lewis leads the Carl Lewis Challenge, a 5-kilometer run/walk that makes its way to San Simeon Point and back.

Best Buddies International, a nonprofit organization founded by Shriver’s brother Anthony Kennedy Shriver, is dedicated to enhancing opportunities for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Entrants pledge amounts starting at $1,650 to participate. Donors of $5,000 and up can attend an evening pool party at the Castle’s Neptune Pool. Last year’s ride raised about $4.5 million, up from the prior year’s $4 million.

Hearst is to receive the “Spirit of Leadership” award, the nonprofit’s highest accolade, which is presented to individuals who have shown great leadership, generosity and spirit in supporting the Best Buddies mission.

Ride participants gather at Hearst Ranch at the end of the challenge for an evening barbecue and private concert by Blues Traveler.