Riding Toward Change
“I started riding 12 years ago, and now I’m hooked,” says Roger Forman, owner of Marathon Company and summer resident of Falmouth. “It’s such an unbelievable event, and it has become the focal point of my summer.” Over the years, Forman has joined different teams, but two things are always constant: he always rides, and he always raises the money.
“It’s an incredibly well-run event, and it has literally moved the needle for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, raising over 717 million dollars since it started,” says Forman, who usually does a two-day ride, totaling around 165 to 175 miles. The first day ends at Massachusetts Maritime Academy, where many of the riders spend the night after listening to live music and enjoying a hot meal. The next morning is the ride to Provincetown. “There’s just people everywhere, cheering you on along the way or volunteering at rest stops, especially on the Cape,” explains Forman. “All of a sudden you’ll say, ‘You’re kidding, I’ve already done 50 miles. That’s how electric the energy is.”
Forman explains that his favorite stop along the way is in Lakeville at the PMC Pedal Partner water stop. Pedal Partners are children being treated for cancer that have been paired with different riders and teams. “They line the stop with pictures of all of the pediatric patients, and it goes on for like a mile. Then when you’re at the stop you can meet a lot of the kids and their families. It just reminds you, ‘There’s a reason I’m out here.’ It’s so re-energizing.”
Over years of training for and riding the event, Forman has realized how much the PMC means to him and how truly affecting it is: “After awhile, you realize that it’s about all of the people and less about the physical aspects of the day. There’s nothing like it in terms of scale and how supremely well-organized it is.” Forman describes treasured moments riding down the Cape, the sun shining off all of the bikes, the ocean off in the distance, the dunes sprawling along beside the riders. “What a place to ride a bike,” he muses. “The second day just feels different—because you’re on the Cape. It’s such a wonderful event that supports something really important, and we are really lucky to have the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute here in Massachusetts. People come from all over to be able to get treated here, and it can be easy to take it for granted until you have a problem. We don’t ride for self-serving reasons, but it is important to recognize how fortunate we are to have this kind of medical community in our backyard. If we can support it, we should.”
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle writes, “When the spirits are low, when the day appears dark, when work becomes monotonous, when hope hardly seems worth having, just mount a bicycle and go out for a spin down the road, without thought on anything but the ride you are taking.” In a world where just a single pedal stroke has the power to make a difference, there is nothing more hopeful, more brave, more comforting than riding a bike.
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