Pedaling for a purpose

September 3, 2008

By Jim Feehan

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Christophe Robert of Newcastle, takes a break near Stevens Pass as he competes in the Courage Classic Bicycle Tour. Photo contributed    

Christophe Robert of Newcastle, takes a break near Stevens Pass as he competes in the Courage Classic Bicycle Tour. Photo contributed

Christophe Robert was looking to combine his passion for bicycling with helping a good cause.

Robert found both as he joined about 600 cyclists Aug. 2-4 in pedaling 180 miles through the Snoqualmie, Blewett and Stevens passes for the 17th annual John L. Scott Foundation Courage Classic Bicycle Tour.

“This was a great ride, very well-organized and made possible by the hundreds of volunteers who helped bikers on the road,” Robert said. “I’m glad I was able to participate in the Courage Classic and help to raise money for abused children.”

Each cyclist was asked to raise at least $400 in pledges. Roberts, a software engineer at Microsoft, raised about $500. The proceeds go to the Rotary Endowment for the Intervention and Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect at Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital and the Children’s Trust Foundation. The Courage Classic has raised more than $4.9 million since the first 1992 ride.

The ride began Aug. 2 on Snoqualmie Ridge, where riders crossed Snoqualmie Pass to Suncadia Resort. On the second day, riders rode over Blewett Pass to Leavenworth. On the final day, the riders continued over Stevens Pass, where they finished at the Skykomish Air Field. On Aug. 2, riders were treated to a jazz festival at Suncadia Resort. 

There is a very serious side to the Courage Classic. Funds are used for the treatment and recovery of all child abuse interventions, including sexual abuse, assault and exposure to drug abuse.

In 1989, a Tacoma boy was sexually mutilated and the attack created a public outcry for legislation and increased reporting and treatment for the victims of child sexual assault. In 1991, the Lakewood Rotary donated the first $100,000 to create the Rotary Endowment for the Intervention and Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect at Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital.

This was the third Courage Classic for Patty and Tom Pemberton, of Newcastle, who raised $420 each. Leading up to the event, the couple logged about 60 miles of cycling a week, including training on some of the steep hills in Newcastle and at Cougar Mountain Regional Park.

Cycling for a good cause and fitness are but two benefits of the ride, said Patty Pemberton, a customer service agent for Pemco Insurance.

“There’s a great sense of camaraderie among the riders and it’s great to help out Mary Bridge Hospital,” she said.

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