11 Charity Bike Rides That Support Great Causes

Marc Lindsay
by Marc Lindsay
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11 Charity Bike Rides That Support Great Causes

If you’re looking to combine doing something you love (cycling) with helping others, we’ve got some rides for you. After all, there’s nothing like riding for a cause to make a cyclist feel amazing. There are tons of awesome cycling events throughout the U.S. each year, but not all of them contribute toward making a difference to those in need.

From curing cancer to helping feed the homeless, these 11 charity bike rides offer the unique opportunity to have fun while you support a great cause.

CAMPOVELO
Napa, California
April

Think of this like a summer camp, but for adults who love cycling on every terrain, eating good food, drinking local wine and beer and generally having fun on and off the bike. Participate in a few or all of the events, and you might be riding next to former pros and current chefs. Proceeds go to ChefsCycle by No Kid Hungry and the Napa Valley Vine Trail. The longest ride is a Sunday 80-miler with a big feast at Charles Krug Winery (don’t expect to end the day in a calorie deficit).

AMERICA’S MOST BEAUTIFUL RIDE
Lake Tahoe, California
June

This ride around scenic South Lake Tahoe certainly lives up to its name. Choose from the 35- 72- and 100-mile distances, each with spectacular views of the lake and surrounding mountains. Along with the one-of-a-kind route, the event is known for its amazing support staff on course and the post-ride celebration with tons of good food. Funds from the ride go to support the fight against leukemia and lymphoma as well as the Lake Tahoe Bikeway project, which aims to connect bikeways and trails around Lake Tahoe.

CHAFE 150 GRAN FONDO
Sandpoint, Idaho
June

This 150-mile loop around the magnificent Cabinet Mountains features stunning views of the lake, river valleys and one of the most beautiful small towns in all of the U.S. While this unique Gran Fondo can certainly hold its own against any other race in the country for its amazing route, one of the best reasons to sign up for this race is the support it provides toward funding educational learning tools for children in the local school districts. Participants can also choose from 100-, 80-, 40- and 30-mile routes.

RAGBRAI
Iowa
July

You might have heard of Ragbrai, but did you know each year profits are given to 20 local, state and national charities? This year, the Davis Phinney Foundation is partnering with Pedaling for Parkinsons to raise money during the seven-day ride across Iowa that’s the largest multi-day cycling event in the world. The average distance of the event is 468 miles, with riders camping at checkpoints along the way. Rider gear and tents are transported via the Ragbrai semi-truck.

FLAG2GC
Flagstaff, Arizona
August

This 65-mile off-road mountain biking event is a beautiful point to point ride from Flagstaff to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. Cyclists tackle everything from muddy singletrack to fast fire roads, taking in tall pines, grasslands and epic mountain scenery along the way. But aside from being one of the most scenic rides in all of Northern Arizona, you’ll also be supporting a great cause. Proceeds from the ride go toward the Flagstaff Marine League Charities like Toys for Tots and the Wounded Marine program.

CALIFORNIA COAST CLASSIC
San Francisco to Los Angeles, California
September

Limited to 250 participants, this classic ride down the iconic Highway 1 covers 530 miles over eight days. Registration fees include camping fees (riders may opt for hotels at their own expense), fully-supported rest stops, mechanical support and catered breakfasts and dinners. To gain one of the limited-entry slots, you’ll need to raise a minimum of $3,300 to support the Arthritis Foundation.

LIVESTRONG CHALLENGE
Austin, Texas
October

While you might be on the fence about what Lance Armstrong did as a professional bike racer, there’s no doubt he’s done a ton of good with his efforts to raise money and awareness for cancer research. This race alone provides more than $500K in funds annually to the Dell Medical School, where they look to revolutionize cancer treatment. The race starts and finishes in Austin, with routes of 20-, 45-, 65- and 100-miles available. The ride is known for being one of the best in all of Texas, and the post-ride festival is one that shouldn’t be missed.

THE SUPERMARKET STREET SWEEP
San Francisco, California
December

This quirky event in the San Francisco area supports the SF/Marin Food Bank helping to provide meals to those in need. Racers in a variety of different categories zip around the city to obtain food from specific grocery stores, with winners being judged by either posting the fastest time or carrying the heaviest load. Since 2005, “sweepers” have donated 87,077 pounds of food and more than $104,000, providing approximately 330,000 meals.

RIDE ON FOR WORLD BICYCLE RELIEF
Virtual
December

Have you ever wished you could ride with pros like Jens Voigt or Andre Greipel? This cool 24-hour virtual event on Zwift lets you do just that, with top fundraisers getting prizes like a Wahoo Kickr smart trainer or even a new bike. The virtual ride supports the World Bicycle Relief foundation, a nonprofit that helps distribute bikes to those in need of transportation in Africa.

BIKE MS
Dates & Location Vary

With more than 100 rides across the country, this ride raises more money than any other cycling event in order to help support individuals and families suffering from multiple sclerosis. Rides include the classic route along the coast of Maine, a traffic-free tour in the streets of New York City and a scenic event in Martha’s Vineyard. Route distances vary from 15–150 miles, with each having fundraising minimums for participants.

TOUR DE CURE
Dates & Location Vary

The funds raised in this hybrid cycling and running event go toward research and finding a cure for diabetes, a disease that affects more than 30 million people in the U.S. The series takes place in 43 states, most with a variety of ride options up to 100 miles. A few of the popular events on the calendar for this year include Sonoma-Wine CountryHampton RoadsLake Nona and the Honolulu ride.

About the Author

Marc Lindsay
Marc Lindsay

Marc is a freelance writer based in Scottsdale, Arizona. He holds a master’s degree in writing from Portland State University and is a certified physical therapy assistant. An avid cyclist and runner of over 20 years, Marc contributes to LAVA, Competitor and Phoenix Outdoor magazines. He is the former cycling editor for Active.com.

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