Cycle for Cure and Be a Part of Something Bigger

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By: Tony Cruz, Long Beach Bicycle Ambassador and Tour of Long Beach Co-Founder

Long Beach is my city; this is where I grew up and where I’ve chosen to live, work and raise a family. There’s a lot about this city I love and it’s not only because it’s so bike-friendly but that certainly plays a part. Riding a bike has a lot of benefits, namely your health and the environment; and I want to influence others to get on a bike and get riding, especially our kids throughout the Long Beach community.

I’m very proud that Long Beach is working on becoming the most bike friendly city in California and in the nation. I couldn’t have been happier when the City Manager of Long Beach, Pat West, approached me a few years ago to be the city’s Bike Ambassador. Cycling has been my life’s passion and I’ve been able to accomplish a lot on two wheels.

I’ve raced in the 2000 Olympics, three World Championships and countless races throughout Europe for the past 10 years. I helped start the Long Beach Bike Festival in 2009 as a way to bring together the biking community of Long Beach and promote the fact that Long Beach is working to become the most bike-friendly city. Then in 2010, Mark Bixby, Charlie Seder and I came up with idea for the Tour of Long Beach. We wanted to add a philanthropic aspect to the Bike Festival where riders can support patients that have cancer or other serious blood disorders from the Jonathan Jaques Children’s Cancer Center (JJCCC) at Miller Children’s Hospital Long Beach.

Unfortunately, Mark Bixby recently passed away from a tragic plane crash, so it’s important to me to make the second Tour of Long Beach even more successful than its inaugural year. Proceeds from the Tour will go towards pediatric cancer research and to help build out the new floor of the JJCCC unit. This unit will be different from other children’s hospitals; there will be 24 private rooms, a new modernized healing environment, and a private conference area for physicians and families and most importantly a bigger playroom. In all that I have done, riding for kids with serious or a chronic condition has felt the most rewarding and I want to share this experience with the community of Long Beach.

Three routes have been designed so that all skill levels can participate: a 31-mile tour, a 62-mile metric century or 4-mile family fun ride. During the ride, participants will enjoy ocean views, inland bays and waterways, a downtown waterfront, scenic parks, plus dozens of eclectic neighborhoods, each with its own style and spirit. All this fun and you’ll be doing something good for the community. I’m personally riding for 15 kids and I invite you to join me on Saturday, May 14 at the Tour of Long Beach to see what makes this city so beautiful and at the same time, you’ll be cycling for a cure.

Register today for the Tour and help these patients and their families. Every little bit counts and as a participant, you’ll be a part of something bigger. Together, we can make a significant impact on the lives of patients and families at Miller Children’s Hospital Long Beach.

To register, go to millerchildrenshospitallb.org/tour or call (562) 933-1676. The registration deadline is midnight on Thursday, May 12. I hope to see you out there!

May also is National Bike Month and I want to encourage everyone to ride to work once or twice a week, and utilize the 50 miles of bike paths that Long Beach has built.

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