The Tour de Gem Cycling Classic proves cycling can be more than a great way to work out.
This charitable community endeavor is designed to support a variety of local nonprofit organizations. The family-friendly event, in its sixth year, offers live and virtual options with rides ranging from a casual fun ride to the endurance-testing century ride.
Since its inception, Tour de Gem has raised more than $350,000, benefitting more than 40 nonprofit organizations.
“By using your bike in an event like this you can deliver more money to a nonprofit that you are passionate about than you ever could on your own,” said Gerry Chadwick, event organizer.
Tour de Gem recently partnered with United Way of the Greater Dayton Area to grow the event and expand its reach.
Take a ride
Whether you are ready to ride or prefer to donate, there are a variety of charitable organizations involved. From We Care Arts to Diabetes Dayton, the Pink Ribbon Riders to PFLAG Dayton and Team WYSO to Team SICSA, there are currently 40 local nonprofit teams.
And the Tour de Gem is designed for all ages and ability levels.
“Even if you haven’t been on a bike for 20 years, there is a ride for you,” Chadwick said.
Cyclists on the fun ride can pedal as little as a mile or take the bike path all the way to Xenia and back. The longer events – 1/2 metric century, metric century, and century rides – range from 40 to 105 road miles.
Kate Vriner of Centerville has participated with her family, including daughters Rita, 9, and Evelyn, 7, since the event’s inception.
“We grew up in a family of service and it’s really important to us to give back to the community,” Vriner said. “And it’s fun to get the girls out and do something together.”
Beyond the ride
The Victory Project, an after-school mentoring program for disengaged young men in grades 8-12, has been part of the Tour de Gem since the beginning. Founder and CEO Monnie Bush has seen benefits beyond the financial support.
“The first year, we didn’t have many guys who even rode bikes,” Bush said. “Now, many ride regularly and work on the bikes themselves. I’ve even noticed guys riding their bikes to and from our organization.”
They also made a connection with the Major Taylor Cycling Club of Dayton.
“It’s been great for them physically and socially,” Bush said.
Smaller nonprofits like Victory Project also benefit from the exposure of an event of this scope. The Clean Water Lemurs and Brunner Literacy Center have the same fundraising potential as the American Heart Association.
“And 100 percent of the money raised goes to the nonprofits,” Chadwick said.
HOW TO GO
What: Tour de Gem Cycling Classic, a fundraising cycling event for local nonprofits to raise money and bring awareness to their missions.
When: Virtual ride – Sept. 18-Oct. 1; Live ride – Oct. 1. Start times vary by ride length.
Where: All rides begin at RiverScape MetroPark, 237 E. Monument Ave., Dayton
Rides: Fun ride (1-38 miles), 1/2 Metric century (40 road miles), Metric century (65 road miles), Century (105 road miles).
More info: Donate or register at www.tourdegem.org.