Along with adjustments in club activities, the Sun City Cycling Club members wanted find a way to do something for the community.
Not being sewers, making masks was out of the question. Besides, they wanted to find something they could do while continuing to ride as best they could.
“Since all the club and organized rides for the foreseeable future were canceled, but most of us were continuing to ride either solo or in small groups with proper social distancing, it seemed the addition of a common goal to be appropriate,” said Warren Smock, club president.
The answer became the 2020 COVID-19 Challenge to support bicycling and Valley View Community Food Bank, 10771 W. Peoria Ave., Mr. Smock explained. The first culmination of the effort came May 15 when club members gathered at the main Valley View location in Sun City to present the result of their efforts — a check for $2,100 collected during a number of rides in April.
“This is really going to be helpful,” said Jesse Ramirez, Valley View founder and director. “We have so much more demand now from clients, including a lot of new ones.”
Mr. Ramirez was also presented with a medallion earned by each of the club members who participated in the challenge.
In a normal environment, Sun City Cycling Club meets near the sundial at the Sundial Recreation Center, 14801 N. 103rd Ave., Tuesday and Thursday mornings for group rides, according to Andy Darling, one of the top riders in the challenge. Tuesday rides are casual and mileage is short and at a slow pace.
“Absolutely everyone is welcome, and no one is dropped or left behind.” Mr. Darling said.
Thursday rides are at a more intermediate to advanced speed and range in distance from high-20s up to 50 or more miles, Mr. Darling explained. The time of year and temperature play a major role in the distance choices, he added.
But the club suspended regular organized club rides in early-April for the safety of the members and to comply with Centers for Disease Control, federal and state directives and guidelines\, according to Mr. Smock.
“Bicycling is a major function of most members to maintain their physical and mental well-being, and as such most continued to bicycle either by themselves or in very small groups of friends,’ Mr. Smock explained.
That prompted the desire to use that activity to work toward a common goal.
Each member was challenged to do an individual ride ranging from a century (100 miles), metric century (62 miles), half century (50 miles), quarter century (25 miles) or a mileage of their choice, Mr. Smock explained. Those who could not or did not want to ride could also make donations to the effort, he added.
“Five non-riders make a contributions,” Mr. Smock said. “A minimum donation of $25 was required and members were encouraged to donate a $1 per mile for their ride.”
A total of 1,939 miles ridden were reported.
“Sun City Cycling Club is very excited about seeing the increase of bicycle riders on the Sun City streets and bike paths during these unusual times,” Mr. Smock said. “We want to encourage all of them to visit our website and take advantage of a free online bicycle safety and education course.”
Mr. Smock is a League of American Bicyclist certified instructor.
“You will learn or be reminded of things that will increase your safety and maximizes your enjoyment,” he said. “There is a companion hands on road course that you can take when you complete the online course.”
Sun City Cycling will offer this follow-up hands on course in the fall or early winter when it is cooler and it is safe to be meeting in groups, according to Mr. Smock.
Visit suncitycycling.com, click on the Links icon and then click on the Bicycle Edu link. Those who complete the course are asked to email firstname.lastname@example.org.