You might not know exactly what Pelotonia is, but you’ve probably seen evidence of it.
I’m not referring only to the burgeoning local interest in sport cycling that has been fueled in part by the annual charity bicycle tour, evidenced by the increasing number of cyclists who appear on roads and leisure trails from Blacklick to Hilliard while wearing colorful jerseys bearing logos and names of local businesses or organizations.
I’m also not talking just about the intersection closures that will start in downtown Columbus on the morning of Aug. 5 and extend east through Groveport and Pickerington, north to Pataskala and New Albany and then to parts beyond.
No, the evidence I’m referencing is a 17-year leukemia survivor from Dublin who says he owes the Ohio State University’s James Cancer Hospital “a debt (he) can never fully repay.”
It’s a five-time cancer survivor from Grove City who calls herself a “cancer warrior” and draws inspiration and courage to fight those battles from her seven grandchildren.
It’s a 14-year-old Pickerington boy who learned about his leukemia diagnosis two years ago at Ohio Stadium just before a Buckeyes spring football game and, now that his cancer is in remission, is joining his parents Aug. 5 on the Pelotonia route from Columbus to New Albany.
The evidence is everyone who has been or will be treated at Ohio State’s Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Founded in 2008, Pelotonia is more than a bike ride.
Its purpose is to raise money for local cancer research through an annual charity bicycle tour. Participants choose from among one-day rides ranging from 25 miles to 100 miles and two-day rides of 135 miles and 180 miles and commit to raising dollar amounts that correspond to each level of mileage.
All money raised goes toward some form of research.
Over the past several weeks, ThisWeek’s Sarah Sole interviewed leaders from Ohio State and Pelotonia to learn more about the grassroots initiative that has become ubiquitous in central Ohio.
The result is our six-week #MoreThanABikeRide series.
The dates and topics are:
• June 29: The four funding “buckets” for research and how the money raised by riders is used.
• July 6: Projects some researchers are pursuing.
• July 13: Why people choose to ride for the cause.
• July 20: How communities and businesses participate.
• July 27: A profile of the movement’s leader.
• Aug. 3: What it takes to pull off the event from Aug. 4 to 6.
We hope this will provide readers a perspective on the goals of the movement and illustrate why Pelotonia is more than a bike ride.
– Neil Thompson