On the morning of June 25, visitors to the Fern Hill Medical Campus in West Chester will find themselves surrounded by a sea of bicycles and enthusiastic riders, as the Brandywine Valley Heating & Air Conditioning Challenge for Cancer Bike Tour kicks off the 19th annual bike ride.
The tour features rides of 5, 10, 30, 50, and 65 miles, perfect for cyclists of all ages and abilities. The 5- and 10-mile rides are family friendly, police-escorted rides to Hershey’s Mill Golf Club and back, while the longer rides tackle the scenic hills and back roads of Chester County.
Participating riders will have extensive support throughout the race. Bike Line is providing operational support for participating riders by conducting pre-ride safety inspections and helping with repairs and other problems riders may face on the road. The course is well marked, monitored, and supplied with food and water.
All the rides end back at the Fern Hill Medical Campus for a big barbecue lunch, live music, and plenty of beer and fun!
“It is a great party atmosphere, a big celebration for the riders when everyone is done,” said Bill Ronayne, a member of the organizing committee for the last five years. “The riders have great support and a good time from beginning to end.”
Ronayne is the owner of Brandywine Valley Heating & Air Conditioning, the Presenting Sponsor of the tour for the last four years. He participates in the ride every year, and, as a cancer survivor himself, he relishes the opportunity to give back to Chester County Hospital after it took great care of him during his treatment and recovery.
The proceeds from the tour stay local, benefitting the Cancer Program of Chester County Hospital and the Neighborhood Health Hospice. Throughout its 19 years of existence, the tour has raised more than $500,000 in donations. These funds help patients and their families bridge the gap between insurance coverage and the cost of treatment, making a noticeable impact in their lives.
The tour also raises money through rider registration fees, online donations, and CrowdRise fundraising. Corporate wellness teams and riding clubs are welcome to register as groups for a discount. Funds can also be donated in memory of people who have passed from this horrible disease.
The tour is always in need of volunteer help, and this year is no exception. Volunteers help with parking, registration, and staffing rest stops. They serve as road marshals, directing riders at key intersections throughout the course. They staff the food and water stations, make peanut butter sandwiches, cut up fruit, and give out cookies. They serve as road ambassadors, and drive the course in their cars.
Whether you ride or volunteer, the tour is a fantastic opportunity to support a worthy cause.
“It’s a great community event and serious fun – it supports a great cause and it’s simply rewarding to give back to the community,” Ronayne said.