State College, PA - Centre County - Central Pennsylvania - Home of Penn State University

Riders Pedal to Raise Funds for Centre Volunteers in Medicine

by on June 29, 2013 11:28 AM

Jean Bemis strapped on her helmet and hopped aboard her bicycle seat early Saturday morning outside Fairbrook United Methodist Church ready to race for charity.

The 79-year old woman from State College was set to participate in the fifth annual cycling event that works to raise money for Centre Volunteers in Medicine. 

"Anything I can do to help," says Bemis. "It's just a beautiful day out and a great event." 

Riders have the option of embarking on either a 60, 30, or eight mile course that begins and ends at the church. The 60-mile course reaches Tyrone and takes most riders three to four hours to complete says event coordinator Roger Greene. 

A lot of the riders are drawn by the chance to ride with a group in addition to helping CVIM.

Most participants came from either Bellefonte, Boalsburg, or State College, but Michael Greeley made the trip from Huntingdon. 

"I really enjoy riding with large groups," Greeley says. "You get to talk to a lot of people and might even make a few friends."

Boalsburg resident Larry High has biked the 30-mile course in every race since it began in 2009. 

"I think CVIM is the best charity in the county," he says. "I love to ride my bike, so this is a great way for me to support a good cause, and I got my wife involved a couple years ago too." 

"It's just a great bike ride with a beautiful course. I really enjoy doing it every year." 

Greene was inspired to start the event after he rode a bike from Bellefonte to Boston in 2008 as part of a Boston Marathon group. 

Greene says many participants get creative to generate funds and sponsors. 

"Watching people go about it is pretty cool to see," he says. "One popular way is people donate a dollar for each mile someone does. I know one guy who said if people pledged more than 2,000 dollars, he'd shave his head." 

As of this morning, 30,000 dollars had already been raised, up from last year's total of 23,000.

Sue Forster, the marketing and events coordinator for CVIM, says they hope to hit the 50,000 dollar mark before the day is over. With 140 riders, she believes the goal is attainable. 

CVIM works to provide medical and dental services for those in Centre County who do not have health insurance. Charity and volunteer events like this make it possible. 

Before Greene lines everyone up at the starting line and gives some final instructions, High is asked if he has a favorite memory since he started participating. 

"One year there was a ton of rain. I just got absolutely poured on. It will be fun either way, but I'm hoping to avoid that today," he says with a smile. 

Drew Balis is a Penn State graduate, freelance reporter and frequent contributor to
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