Charity Bike Ride Guide

June 03, 2019 • Transportation

Charity rides are a great way to do good, get into shape, and make some new bike buds!

Could you use a little extra kick in the cycle shorts to get on a consistent workout schedule? This is where charity bike rides can really help you find the motivation to get up, get out, and pedal. A few things to keep in mind about charity or other organized rides:

  • Typically, participants register for charity rides in teams. Gathering your friends (or colleagues—your employer may have a pre-existing team you may join) and signing up for a ride together means you can help egg each other on during training. Or better yet, schedule weekend training rides and start logging those pre-event miles together.
  • There’s always a fundraising minimum you need to achieve to participate in a ride (and sometimes a rider registration fee). This helps the organization cover it’s administrative costs and raise money for its cause. You usually have a certain period of time to ask friends and relatives to support you.
  • Training is usually a good if not essential plan. Most rides have training regimens posted on their websites.

If you want to ride hard, but maybe drink wine afterwards...

Most rides in and around the Bay Area require training, but typically won’t turn your legs into jelly. Added bonus: At least a couple include wine!

Ride For A Reason | April 27
If you’d like to combine pedaling with activism, consider this ride from Oakland to the state capital in Sacramento with the goal of putting eyes on funding for public schools. Money raised from registration and sponsorship fees goes to school enrichment programs in Oakland. The event ends with a Rally For Education at the steps of the State Capitol.

Tour de Cure, Silicon Valley | June 23
This ride is in the neighborhood: The starting line is Foothill College. What’s great about the Tour de Cure is that there are so many different distances you can choose to ride, from a 12 mile cruise fest to a 75 mile slog. There are also options for runners and walkers, and if you join a team, not all members need to register for the same course. There’s really something for everyone (even the kids!), and all in the name of funding diabetes research.

Waves to Wine | September 21 - 22
So about that wine: This ride to support MS treatment and research has two options: There are several different route options, with the longest route (100 miles) leaving from Brisbane and then snaking through the east side of Marin. The shorter routes zigzag around the Santa Rosa area. The organizers boast “full meals, generous amenities, stunning landscapes, fully stocked rest stops and spirited festivities are all included.” Cheers!

If you’re hot to trot...
So you bought a road bike, downloaded Strava, and bought Chamois Butt'r in bulk. Well, saddle up and plan on pedaling some serious pavement in anticipation of these strenuous slogs.

AIDS Lifecycle | June 2-8
This seven day, fully-supported trek from San Francisco to L.A. is oft cited as the “gateway” to more regular biking, and for good reason. Although the ride is long and challenging, the Lifecycle community is extremely welcoming and encouraging of new riders. Plus spending a week biking and camping together fosters fast friendships. Last year, AIDS Lifecycle raised a record $16.6 million to help combat HIV/AIDS.

California Coast Classic | September 21 - 28
See some of the most beautiful parts of the California coast on this eight day 500+ mile ride from SF to LA. All meals are provided, but be prepared for accommodations of the rustic variety (read: tent camping). The event raises funds for The Arthritis Foundation.

If you’d rather forgo the training and get straight to the fun...
Sometimes, all you want is a bunch of bikes and bumping beats on a Friday night. Here’s how to not sign up for a charity ride, but still enjoy great gatherings of bicyclists.

Bike Party (SF, East Bay, SJ) | various monthly dates
Once a month, roving bands of bikers, some in costumes, some with neon lights; and some towing subwoofers take to city streets. The route is never planned in advance, and it’s always a slow-moving social ride.

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