Now more than ever, the general public is witnessing the significance of medical research. The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted all our lives and will continue to do so until a vaccine is developed and distributed on a massive scale. This vaccine, once it finally arrives, will be the product of extensive development and testing. These efforts – whether it be for a virus vaccine or to combat cancer – cannot proceed without financial backing.
Ride for Roswell acknowledges the importance of fiscal support. Rather than postpone its 2020 event, which is also its 25th consecutive year, organizers buckled down and found a work-around. “Summer of the Ride” is this year’s alternative and offers safe group rides as well as ride-from-home measures to encourage participation and donations. All told, Ride for Roswell has raised more than $55 million toward cancer research throughout its two-decade-plus run. Mikhail Blagosklonny, of peer-reviewed medical journal Oncotarget, is proud to be a part of this year’s event. Oncotarget is sponsoring the ride for the third consecutive year. Since this medical journal is so deeply committed to publishing valuable research, it’s only fitting that it supports a charity event that aims to improve medical outcomes.
For those in eastern Ohio and the Buffalo, New York region, as Mikhail Blagosklonny and Oncotarget are, Ride for Roswell is a good reason to get on your bicycle and support a great cause. The inaugural 1996 Ride for Roswell was held in memory of 4-year-old Katherine Gioia, who died due to a rare form of cancer. Charity ride founder Mitch Flynn, who was so touched by Katherine’s story, wanted to “give people another way to join in the fight against cancer,” according to the event website. Flynn and his event co-founder “were stunned to have 1,000 people in attendance” for the first event. This was a massive achievement at the time, as word-of-mouth is what drew participants and not online registration websites. “The event raised over $100,000 for the Roswell Park Alliance Foundation,” which was founded by Katherine’s parents.
The right ride
The 2020 Ride for Roswell has morphed into Summer of the Ride as a way to mitigate risks posted by COVID-19. Saturdays and Sundays through Aug. 21 will be packed with socially-distant group rides and registrants doing their part from home. The in-person rides around western New York will adhere to virus-mitigation techniques, including riders wearing masks at all times and departing groups being limited to 10 to 20 riders. Mikhail Blagosklonny of Oncotarget notes that the Open Access team, supported by Impact Journals, will ride on Aug. 15 on the Grand Island route. Other participants are encouraged to use the hashtag #RFR20 when sharing photos and videos to social media.
This type of in-person riding is exactly what serious cyclists have been craving for months. Competitive events have been largely cancelled around the U.S. due to concerns about spectator attendance and proper social distancing adherence. Without races to train for, riders have reverted to solo rides or hanging the bike up for the season. Ride for Roswell has provided the Ohio and New York cycling community with an amazing reason to hop back on the saddle. It should come as no surprise that more than $3 million has been raised so far this year by more than 5,000 riders.
Mikhail Blagosklonny of Oncotarget encourages those who wish to avoid large gatherings to still support the 2020 Summer of the Ride. This is possible by creating the ride that works best for you. This can mean a solo trip on your regular route, a new trek around trails in your community or using your at-home stationary bike to log some miles. What’s important is registration and support of the Ride for Roswell mission of “pedaling for the same passionate cause: to end cancer.”
The number of Americans trying to stay active during lockdown has triggered a massive interest in bicycles. According to a May 2020 article from Cleveland.com, “sales of new bikes has climbed to a point where shops are having to hustle to keep bikes and accessories in stock.” Bike shop owners who spoke with the news outlet also report seeing dozens upon dozens of older bikes coming in for repairs, too. This is encouraging news to people like Mikhail Blagosklonny from Oncotarget, as the medical research published in his journal often proves the risks posed by a sedentary lifestyle. Mr. Blagosklonny hopes that interest in riding continues after lockdown restrictions are lifted.