September 20, 2017
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Cycling, a hobby… Polio eradication, a passion

  • Rotarian District Governor Bob Rogers is seen with some of the other riders in the background as he crosses the shadow of the Lucchesi Park finish line of the approximately 332 miles "Pedal for Polio" ride, which began five days earlier in Crescent City. Robert Grant

By: Irene Hilsendager
August 25, 2017

On August 13, a group of 14 core bicyclists left Crescent City, California to make their way totaling 332 miles to the finish line in Luchessi Park in Petaluma. Along the way traveling south, many Rotary Clubs had volunteers to join in on the long ride. It took until August 19 before the trip was completed. Raising money along the way was not too difficult as the majority of the Rotary Clubs in District 5130 contributed money and time to see that these brave cyclists made it to the end. All riders stayed at volunteer houses or were put up in hostels for the six nights they had to rest and fuel themselves up. Many large hills and narrow roads made this a very difficult ride, but this was a dream of District Governor Bob Rogers, to get closer to the goal to rid this world of the dreaded polio virus. The SAG person said that most of the time cars and trucks would be aware of all of the riders but then a few times it seemed the rules of the road did not pertain to those truckers.

A favorite saying is “it all starts with one person’s dream.” DG Roger had that dream and it came to fruition as he and about 40 other riders crossed the finish line. Many stories were told how one gentleman became lost and couldn’t find his pack of riders. He had to resort to a GPA to find his way back to the other cyclists. This person insisted the hill on Eli Road was more of a mountain then a little hill. But, kudos for hanging in their Rotarian Mike!

Many people volunteered to help make this dream come true. As of the last count, it was close to 230 people who signed up to volunteer. Volunteers come from many different walks of life but some came from a bicycling perspective and this is what made this long bike ride so memorable. Volunteers are really the backbone of our Rotary Clubs. 

Not all the figures have been gathered at this time, but Rogers said that he knows of $53,663.50 that has come in and with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation of matching funds, that equals $160,990.50 to help eradicate polio from this planet. This amount of money at 60 cents a dose will cover 268,317 children to help stamp out polio.