FRESNO—The second annual Tour de Fresno charity bike ride, organized by the ATG / Bike for Hope, rallied 729 riders and volunteers at the Chukchansi Baseball Park to take part in the tour; a huge leap from the 162 riders that participated in 2009. The ride was the ninth annual fund raising bike a thon organized by the Armenian Technology Group, Inc./Bike for Hope.
Earlier this year, $75,361 worth of bicycles and cycling supplies arrived in Armenia as a follow-up fundraising drive in Los Angeles and the inaugural 2009 Granville Homes Tour de Fresno Charity Ride. Through financial and in-kind donations to the ATG BikeForHope program, ATG secured new racing bicycles, cycling components, biking supplies and clothing for the Junior Olympic School of Cycling in Yerevan .
The supplies were shipped from US to Armenia courtesy of the UAF. They were entrusted to the supervision of the world-renowned cycling coach, Albert Soloyan, who will oversee the training of over 250 teenagers, as they prepare for the Olympics and other competitions.
“It is our hope that this after-school program will help restate and promote a healthy life-style among the children and the youth in Armenia ,” said Varoujan der Simonian, executive director of ATG.
The donated cycling supplies have a special meaning to Hrach Gevrikyan, proprietor of Velo Pasadena and Velo Studio of Burbank who assisted ATG during this drive. Hrach, spearheaded the campaign to acquire, gather, itemize and box the items prior to their shipment to Armenia .
“I cannot forget what Albert Soloyan and the Cycling School in Armenia has given me when I was growing up. They are part of my daily life wherever I am,” said Hrach.
As a youngster, Hrach was trained under Soloyan, who had coached Hrach to win thirteen-time cycling championship of Armenia prior to migrating to United States .
This year cyclists had pre-registered in one of the four ride options that they participated in: Century, Metric Century, 41-mile Countryside and recreational 15 mile scenic rides, compared to only two ride options offered last year.
The comments and feedback provided by the riders were excellent. Survey results conducted following the rides indicates that overall, 98 percent of the participants will return next year, as well as encourage their friends to join.
“I did the 15 mile ride and had a blast. I was able to see parts of Fresno in ways I never knew,” said Brandon of Salinas, California.
Riders from 63 different cities across the State took part in the tour. They expressed great support for the Tour de Fresno commemorative jerseys and gloves, stating that they were not only stylish and comfortable but also wonderful ways to represent Fresno and California’s beautiful Central Valley! “I never knew Fresno had hills, lakes, mountains, etc. I’m in for next year!” said Jake Bursalyan from San Francisco
The Tour de Fresno was an enormous success thanks to everyone that helped and participated. The nine rest stops throughout the rides also proved to be a great success with the riders. “The ride was awesome and the sandwiches were delicious!” exclaimed Mike from Fresno. All credit goes out to our volunteers at the rest stops as well as the post-ride lunch for their help and efficiency in providing the riders with everything they needed in between and after their ride.
“We were delighted to hear about how satisfied everyone was with the event” said Der Simonian.
Additional comments and pictures are posted on Tour de Fresno website and facebook.
Tour de Fresno will support organizations in the communities that are actively involved in making a positive and lasting difference in the lives of the youth. Proceeds from this years’s ride will benefit activities promoted by local organizations like Hope Now for Youth, where moral values and social behavior are taught through educational and training activities in order to teach good values, acceptable behavior, and responsible citizenship. Hope Now trains local youth through a special educational process and then places them as interns at local businesses.
In 2011, the ride is scheduled to take place on Saturday, September 17, and, based on the survey results, it is anticipated that the tour will break a new attendance record.