500-plus cyclists expected for annual Bikes Fight Cancer fundraiser

More than 540 cyclists will be taking a ride through the Pioneer Valley on Saturday to raise money for cancer research and care as part of the fifth annual Bikes Fight Cancer fundraiser.

More than 540 cyclists will be taking a ride through the Pioneer Valley on Saturday to raise money for cancer research and care as part of the fifth annual Bikes Fight Cancer fundraiser. Courtesy of Bikes Fight Cancer

By CHRIS LARABEE

Staff Writer

Published: 06-13-2024 1:59 PM

SOUTH DEERFIELD — If you see groups of bikers on the road anywhere between Deerfield and Northfield on Saturday morning, they are likely one of hundreds of people riding in the fifth annual Bikes Fight Cancer fundraiser.

Kicking off at Tree House Brewing Co., on Saturday, June 15, more than 540 cyclists will be taking a ride through the Pioneer Valley to raise money for cancer research and care. The 50-mile ride begins at 8 a.m. and the 25-mile ride starts at 9 a.m., and there are about 60 registration spots still open. Registration, which closes on Friday, and more information is available at bikereg.com/bfc.

Last year’s event raised around $80,000, which is double what it raised in 2022, and longtime event co-organizer Johnny Morin said the goal this year is to try to double that number again. Bikes Fight Cancer became a 501(c)(3) charity last year, which Morin attributed to its huge growth, as well as the local impact.

“We’re trying to do the same thing this year and we’re at $103,000 right now,” Morin said, adding that their goal is to keep as much money in the region as possible. “Dana-Farber does very important research and we wanted to balance that with helping families in our community.”

This year, Bikes Fight Cancer is raising money for Cooley Dickinson Hospital’s Mass General Cancer Center and Cancer Care Patient Fund, the Center for Human Development’s Cancer House of Hope, Northampton’s Cancer Connection and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston.

All donations and rider-raised funds go directly to charity, as registration fees and sponsors help pay for the ride’s organization. Sponsors include Valley Solar, Magic for Maddie, Easthampton Savings Bank, PeoplesBank and Greenfield Savings Bank.

“One thing we are really proud of is 100% of rider-raised donations make it to families and research,” Morin said. “We don’t take anything out of the donation pool to put on the ride.”

This year’s routes are similar to last year’s, with the 50-mile ride sending cyclists up to Northfield and around the Connecticut River, while the 25-mile ride will head up through Greenfield and Montague before coming back through Sunderland.

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Morin emphasized the routes are geared toward “someone’s first-ever real event or charity ride” so cyclists of all skills levels are welcome. There will be water and mechanic stations set up along the route. E-bikes are also welcome.

“If you see people out on the road, give them a wave because they’re doing good stuff,” Morin said.

Following the event, riders, families, friends and the public are invited to spend time at Tree House Brewing Co. with Local Burger and Bueno Y Sano food trucks, an ice cream truck, Tree House beer and additional children’s activities. Morin noted it takes about 100 volunteers to run the event and if anyone wants to volunteer on the day of the ride, they can show up.

The ride will be held regardless of weather — cyclists raised tens of thousands of dollars despite downpours last year — and Morin said it is a chance to battle the feeling of helplessness they may feel when someone is diagnosed with cancer.

“Cancer doesn’t take a day off just because it’s raining, so we don’t either,” Morin said, adding that the event is a chance to join others in a fun environment and help support friends and family members. “It’s a positive thing you can do to take some power back when you feel helpless; and to be able to share that, this year with 500-something people, is really why we do it.”

For folks who want to support the cause, but cannot commit to the bike ride, donations are also accepted at bikesfightcancer.org.

Chris Larabee can be reached at clarabee@recorder.com.