LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Many more riders have taken to the bike trails this summer as a way to stay safely active during the COVID-19 pandemic. With that rise, one Lexington woman wants to get the word out about the Great Cycle Challenge, a nationwide challenge to raise awareness and funds for childhood cancer research.
“As long as you’re going to be out, you might as well do something sort of amazing. Make a difference,” said Beth Blackman.
Blackman is trying to make a difference one pedal at a time. For the third year in a row, she’s participating in the Great Cycle Challenge.
Riders across the country will set a personal mileage goal for the month of September. It doesn’t matter how many miles; it can be 25 or 1,000 miles. Also, if you don’t have a bicycle, you can still join in with a spin bike, as long as you have a way to track and log your miles.
Then participants get friends to support them with a donation, which will help support childhood cancer research.
Blackman’s goal is 250 miles and she’s been out preparing this summer, in her neighborhood and on the Legacy Trail in Lexington.
Blackman has also been working to recruit riders in Kentucky and other states.
“It’s fun to have a goal and I think a lot of us that are sort of trapped inside, part of it is not having a goal,” said Blackman.
While she enjoys the activity, she also has a personal connection to the mission. She’s riding in honor of Cooper Abbott, a close friend’s grandson who died at the age of nine after a seven-year battle with cancer.
“As I watched my friend and Cooper and his parents go through this, I realized several things. One is how underfunded the research is for kids’ cancer. It’s very different than adult cancer and they need different treatments,” said Blackman. “Nationwide, only 4% of research funds go to kids’ cancer.”
As more people take their bike out as a pandemic activity, she hopes they’ll join her in making a difference for children.
Sign up here to participate in the challenge.