Pedals for Heroes event at Rec Center raises money for veterans

Mackenzie Wallace

Pedals for Heroes, an indoor cycling fundraiser across Northeast Ohio to benefit local veterans, took place at 1 p.m. Sunday at the Student Recreation and Wellness Center.

Participants of Pedals for Heroes cycled in honor of every Ohio soldier who has sacrificed his or her life in the Middle East since Sept. 11, 2001. There have been 276 fallen soldiers, so participants had the opportunity to ride stationary bicycles for 276 minutes.

“I met a family I fell in love with who lost a son, and I knew I wanted to help them,” said Cassie Schumacher, co-founder of Pedals for Heroes and cyclist for 22 years. “I saw a need in the community and started raising money for veterans in 2010.”

Check-in started around noon in Studio 1 on the upper level of the Rec Center. By 2:30 p.m., bicycles were being returned to their designated spot in the facility.

“We ended up getting a fairly small group of people so there was no reason to carry it on when there was no one on bikes,” said Ben Cope, fitness coordinator at the Student Recreation and Wellness Center. “I think on bikes, there ended up being 20 people.”

Riders were responsible for their own fundraising. Minimum donations were $15 per half hour of cycling and $25 per hour of cycling. Riders could participate individually or as a team. Members of teams could take turns biking.

Those who participated in the event were given a Pedals for Heroes T-shirt. The rest of the T-shirts will be sold at the Pro Shop for $10.

Cope is still calculating how much money was raised for the Pedals for Heroes organization.

“We’re going to end up selling the rest of the T-shirts at the Pro Shop and then we have a couple outside businesses that are still going to end up donating, so we are just kind of waiting to see the final number,” Cope said.

Proceeds from the event will go to the Pedals for Heroes organization, a non-profit organization, to help build awareness and raise funds for local veterans and their families.

“The organization also buys bikes for veterans and gives out scholarships,” Schumacher said. “Lots of veterans want to get active and help younger veterans.”

The Rec Center plans on holding this event again next year.

“A lot of fitness centers in Ohio are kind of catching wind of this,” Cope said. “We thought it was a good cause as a local thing for veterans — helping their families, honoring those who have been lost. It’s something new to Kent [State]. It’s the first time it’s been done here. We’re going to really push this thing next year.”

Contact Mackenzie Wallace at [email protected].