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Style Magazine

Ride for a Reason

Aug 02, 2010 08:14AM ● By Style

Photos courtesy of Ride for a Reason.

On August 14, nearly 1,000 cyclists will converge on the trails around Lake Natoma for the Fifth Annual Ride for a Reason (RFAR).

Those who feel the need for speed will hammer out multiple laps of the loop course; others will take a more leisurely approach and enjoy the beautiful scenery. Fast or slow, all will share a common goal: To help make a difference in the lives of those affected by Parkinson’s disease and cancer.

John Crews and Lori Scheel started RFAR in 2006. To date, the ride has raised more than $350,000 to benefit the Davis Phinney Foundation, the Lance Armstrong Foundation, and the UC Davis Cancer Center’s Triumph Fitness Program and Child Life Program. A key goal of the non profit is to help make a difference in the local community, so in March, more than $10,000 worth of laptop computers, video games, and toys were donated by RFAR to the UC Davis Children’s Hospital oncology and bone marrow transplant units.

Crews raced on the BMX circuit for more than a dozen years, and opened his Bicycles Plus store in 1988. He’s been an active member of the community, sponsoring riders and racing teams, and lending support to cycling, recreational and community events. In 2003, at age 40, Crews was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. Like many people whose lives are forever altered by the diagnosis of an incurable disease, he searched for an answer to “why me?” Says Crews, “I think I know why: I’m convinced I’ve been chosen to spread the word that life goes on. It’s important to me that I make a difference in the lives that I touch.” He spreads his motto – “Life’s Short: Enjoy the Ride!” – through his involvement in RFAR.

Scheel is an active cyclist, and as a mother of three sons, is involved in a variety of school and community events. Like so many other people, both Parkinson’s and cancer have touched her life. After her father lost his own battle with cancer, she dedicated herself to raising funds for the Lance Armstrong Foundation, raising $15,000 her first year. When Scheel partnered with Crews to start RFAR, it was because she wanted a hands-on way to impact those dealing with cancer in her own community.

Nearly 200 RFAR volunteers help with hundreds of duties, and all of them are empowered by Scheel to do everything possible to ensure that each participant feels special and appreciated. It’s often the personal dedication of both Scheel and Crews to the RFAR mission that inspires others to volunteer. Kim Fish says, “My husband is a cancer survivor, and when I first met Lori and heard her speak so passionately about RFAR, I thought, ‘she gets it.’ I’m in constant awe of her 200% dedication, and she’s a prime example of how one person really can make a difference. In turn, I want to be part of RFAR and help Lori and John any way that I can.”

RFAR is a fully supported, family-oriented ride on an 18-mile, self-paced loop course. The atmosphere is fun and festive, with themed checkpoints, goody bags and an amazing raffle, and a post-ride lunch catered by Outback Steakhouse. Participants who elect to fund-raise receive additional incentives. The Powers family – mom Cecilia, dad Tony, and brothers Mark, Luke, Joe, and Daniel – make RFAR an annual family event. Mark took honors as the second-highest youth fund-raiser in 2007 and was number one at last year’s RFAR, raising more than $1,300. His secret to success: using e-mail to contact relatives, neighbors and the family’s large circle of friends in the cycling community. Of course, it never hurts to be a cute kid, either!

Join the fun this year on August 14; learn more about Ride for a Reason and register at