This weekend, thousands of spoked wheels will take to the pavement as a group of bicycle riders pedal closer to their “One Goal” of eradicating cancer.
Pelotonia, Ohio State’s annual grassroots fundraising bike ride, is slated to kick off Friday night at the event’s Opening Ceremony in Columbus. A record number of people are set to ride this year, a spokeswoman for the event said. It will last through Sunday.
As of Friday afternoon, more than 7,000 people registered as riders or virtual riders according to a live tracker on Pelotonia’s website. A virtual rider is someone who fundraises but doesn’t ride.
Last year, approximately 6,723 people registered, Pelotonia spokeswoman Jillian Blaine said.
The event will feature an additional starting location due to the increase in riders.
Unlike past years, riders participating in the 25-mile and 50-mile bike rides will depart from McFerson Commons in the Arena District at 8 a.m. Saturday.
Riders planning to complete the 100- and 180-mile rides will still start at 7 a.m. Saturday at the Columbus Commons per usual. In addition, riders who plan to complete the 75- and 155-mile rides will still leave from Pickerington High School North, at 7:30 a.m
More than $11 million has already been raised for the 2014 ride, according to a live donation tracker on the website.
This year’s goal is set at over $19 million, Blaine said.
The event, which began in 2008, has raised nearly $73 million to date, according to the website. 100 percent of the proceeds go to the OSU Comprehensive Cancer Center.
“Every year we’re encouraged and uplifted by the outpouring support from the Pelotonia community,” Blaine said in an emailed statement. “We want to thank all of our extraordinary Riders, Virtual Riders, Volunteers, Partners, and Donors for making this another record-breaking year. Without these outstanding individuals, we would be much further away from our One Goal.”
Pelotonia began after Mike Caligiuri, director of the OSU Comprehensive Cancer Center and cancer survivor Tom Lennox rode nearly 200 miles together in the summer of 2008 for the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Pelotonia’s website said. Later that fall, Lennox, with the support of Caligiuri, began Pelotonia.
The opening ceremony will start at 7 p.m. at the Columbus Commons, located at 160 S. High St.