Pelotonia is an annual central Ohio charity bicycle tour that raises money to support cancer research and has amplified the local profile of the Ohio State University’s James Cancer Center and Solove Research Institute, as well as the sport of cycling. Here are five answers to some frequent questions about the grassroots movement.

1. What is a peloton? Derived from the French word for platoon and generally defined as the primary group of cyclists in a race, pelotons are Pelotonia’s fundraising teams that are organized by businesses, communities, academic or social organizations or simply like-minded individuals. One of the benefits of a peloton is that riders who exceed the minimum fundraising amounts may share additional funds with teammates.

2. Where does the money go? By 2018, Pelotonia had raised more than $157 million since the first ride in 2009. All the money raised goes toward some form of research at Ohio State and is broken down into four basic “buckets,” according to Miguel Perez, former Pelotonia chief operating officer, in 2017. The first, the fellowship program, awards grants to younger researchers; levels include undergraduate, medical student, graduate, doctoral candidates and postdoctoral candidates. The second bucket is for idea grants, which give applicants an opportunity to pursue an innovative idea that might not have the necessary data or statistics to support a grant application elsewhere. The third bucket, which is senior-scientist grants, invests in researchers and laboratories. The fourth bucket funds the creation of statewide initiatives.

3. What about operating costs? Sponsors cover the annual operating costs for Pelotonia, so all money raised by riders and virtual riders is directed to Ohio State, according to Emily Smith, communications manager for Pelotonia.

4. What is Pelotonia’s future? Pelotonia CEO Doug Ulman, a three-time cancer survivor who took Pelotonia’s reins in 2014, told ThisWeek in 2017 he and Pelotonia leaders have focused on community input and innovation to shape the nonprofit’s future, which could include a global component, thanks to technology. In May 2018, Pelotonia launched its free Pulll activity-tracking app that allows anyone in the U.S. to unlock sponsor-donated money for cancer research at Ohio State by activating the app on a smartphone while cycling, running or walking.

5. Why do people ride? Everyone has their reasons. Pelotonia is about people from diverse backgrounds and experiences working in unison to achieve one goal, an end to cancer. Watching a loved one battle cancer can make a person feel powerless. Pelotonia, on the other hand, is about empowerment. Most people never will search for a cure or provide care to patients, but Pelotonia participants can help fund medical breakthroughs and treatments by pedaling. ThisWeek has told many of their stories; you can read them at ThisWeekNEWS.com/Pelotonia.

Go back to the story.