WOONSOCKET, R.I. (WPRI) — The Bike to the Beach ride has been going on for a decade, and not only is it fun, but it also raises important funds for non-profit organizations, who at this time, need it the most.
“There’s so much potential in each and every person out there, including people with autism, and that’s where our work stems from,” Betsy Roche of Amego Inc. said.
It’s why they ride. Before sunrise, a group from Boston, including dozens of Boston University men’s and women’s lacrosse team players, hopped on the saddle and rode bikes straight through to Woonsocket.
“Well, it’s fun, our whole team is doing it, we’re doing it for charity, it’s a good cause, it’s tough but it’s enjoyable. And when we get to the finish line, it will feel pretty good,” John Gross said.
The Boston University team of cyclists alone raised over $70,000 — all to be donated through Bike to the Beach to local non-profit organizations like Amego Inc., which provides all types of services for people with autism.
Amego Inc. hosted the water table stop in Woonsocket, which was also the start of a shorter, sixty mile ride option to Newport.
“This is our first year joining the organization, so we’re going to see where it goes, but we’ve had a successful water stop, and next year we hope to the do the one hundred,” Nick Wagner said.
Organizations that hosted water stops could keep all the money their teams raised as part of Bike to the Beach.
“The pandemic was a really big hit for a lot of our local non-profit partners. Not only they had to deal with changing their programs to support their clients, they also lost a lot of their events,” Director of Operations Benjamin Dalley said. “We’re really proud that last year, despite the pandemic, we were able to host, a safe and responsible, COVID-19 friendly event.”
But this year, organizers say they’re back to pre-pandemic levels.
“Feels good. It’s good to see everyone again, it’s good to see the level of activity,” Bari Freeman said.
Executive Director of Bike Newport, Bari Freeman says they’ve partnered with Bike to the Beach since the beginning.
“You ride the entire state in a morning, by late lunch, and there’s no other state you can ride the entire state,” Freeman said.
There was also a shorter option of 25 miles, taking off from Bristol and ending in Newport.