Jeffrey Burnside didn’t even break a sweat. He had just ridden 100 miles, biking up hills and down valleys, around bends, rolling past others participating in Ride for Hope, passing them with a smile and a wave as casual as if he were out for a Sunday drive.
“It was a lot of fun, a piece of cake,” said the consummate cyclist whose long history with biking takes him all the way from the 1970 Commonwealth Games in England to the 1972 Olympics in Munich where he made it to the quarter finals in the 1,000-meter sprint to this day in Eleuthera where he, like nearly 600 others, were pedaling for a cause — to raise funds for the fight against cancer.
Burnside, a messenger at BOB where he is also a one-time Employee of the Year for his consistent upbeat attitude, was among a team of 20, including ground crew and riders. Among the cyclists was Managing Director Paul McWeeney.
“BOB is proud to be a Yellow Jersey sponsor of Ride for Hope for the second year,” said McWeeney, who, along with his wife, Meka, also an avid cyclist, had completed 50 miles. “There is probably no one among us whose life has not been touched by cancer, either someone in our family, a friend, a colleague or co-worker. It is important to lend whatever support we can to this effort which helps fund The Cancer Society and the Cancer Caring Centre.” Yellow Jersey sponsorship is the highest level, $10,000. In addition, the bank raised more than $3,000 through an intranet appeal. Its total donation to Ride for Hope was $13,123.
If the 100-mile ride through the hills of Eleuthera was a ‘piece of cake’ for Burnside, it was a positive eye-opener for Antoinette Christie who rode side-by-side with her 11-year-old son, Ashanti Johnson. “My son and I didn’t know we were in such good shape,” she said. “We finished the 10-mile course and felt like we could have done twice that. My son thinks big so he wants to try 100 miles, but we’ve settled on 20 next year.” The event was the first time mother and son had ridden together.
Thanks to participants like BOB, individuals and other corporate sponsors, organisers said they hope to raise more than $400,000 from this year’s ride. A final tally is not expected until next month as pledges are converted to donations. BOB’s contribution was presented to co-founder Stephen Holowesko the week after the April 14 event.
“We’ve been really impressed by BOB’s commitment to healthy lifestyles in The Bahamas,” said Holowesko. “BOB is really a perfect corporate partner for Ride for Hope and we are really pleased to have the bank’s participation.”