Among many silver linings during a difficult year, the first-ever Dream Ride Challenge stands as a success. We had a great “turnout” and we raised over $25,000 to support CalBike’s work in the coming year!
9 days, 4,500 miles, $25,000 raised for CalBike
When CalBike made the decision to cancel 2020’s annual California Dream Ride, the in-person 5-day bicycle experience along some of California’s most beautiful and memorable bicycle routes, we knew there would be a few things we would miss. Not only is the California Dream Ride a huge fundraiser for CalBike every year, but it provides the experience of sharing bicycling alongside a fun and supportive community.
When CalBike launched the Dream Ride Challenge this October, our goal was to deliver the spirit and joy of the in-person Dream Ride right to the front door of bicyclists across California. We wanted to create a virtual experience to motivate and inspire you to get out on your bike and engage with your bicycle community. We had some experience with this: we had already made our Dream Ride Experiences into self-directed rides. But the Dream Ride Challenge was a bigger lift. Happily, it was an outstanding success.
Dream Riders took on the Challenge
From October 3rd to October 11th we were joined by over 50 passionate bicyclists and advocates for sustainable transportation. Over 9 days of bicycle and fundraising challenges, these Dream Riders cumulatively rode over 4,500 miles and raised over $25,000 through their own fundraising pages, all to support CalBike’s vital work to bring better biking to all California communities.
Dream Riders also went the extra mile as part of “the challenge.” They wrote to their local elected officials, submitted shining reviews to uplift their local bike shops, picked up trash along bikeways, and took on a number of extra bonus activities throughout the event. Our daily pop-up challenge in honor of World Post Day, for example, saw a number of Dream Riders placing their election ballots in the mail.
An Opportunity to Connect
In the evenings, we took part in engaging Zoom sessions. We heard updates from our Ride Director Debbie Brubaker and Dream Ride veteran Jon Riddle. Riders had the opportunity to share photos and stories. We were also lucky to be joined by competitive cyclists, grassroots advocates, bicycle industry pioneers, and one world-record holder. The discussions were inspiring and lively.
During our first session of the week, we were joined by Johanna Iraheta, an educator and bike touring pro who brings bicycle touring to young people in Los Angeles. CalBike Board member and founder of SoCal Cross, Dorothy Wong, joined the session to speak about establishing the cyclocross scene in Southern California. World-record holder Denise Mueller-Korenek closed the session, and spoke about her record-breaking performance at the Bonneville Salt Flats in 2018, where she trailed a pace car on a custom bicycle at 184 miles per hour!
Mid-week, we heard from advocates working to advance cycling across the state. Speakers included Damian Kevitt of Streets Are For Everyone and Zachary Rynew of Gravel Bike California. We were also joined by Levi Leipheimer, former pro cyclist and founder of Levi’s GranFondo, a cycling event that draws thousands annually and has raised over $3 million for Sonoma County charities since its inception in 2009.
At our last Zoom session and final Dream Ride celebration, we were joined by mountain biking pioneer Gary Fisher. Gary shared stories of competitive cycling in California during the 60s, and the early days of clunker bike rides on dirt trails that laid the foundations for modern mountain biking. Gary shared a passionate message with Dream Riders, stating that “this is the time for change” as we continue the fight for more sustainable transportation, more livable cities, and more space for bicycles.
With the 2020 Dream Ride Challenge, we managed to overcome a difficult situation and pull together as a cycling community. Thanks to all of our Dream Ride Challenge 2020 participants, sponsors, and panelists for making this event a success.