SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — Every year, Isaac Gonzalez celebrates his birthday by riding a stationary bike for 12 hours.
Since 2016, Gonzalez has been riding from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. to raise money for the YMCA Y-Assist Scholarship Program, which provides funds to people in the community who cannot afford to participate in YMCA programs. .
Gonzalez, who is a member of the Sacramento Central YMCA Advisory Board, will lead his ride in the lobby of the Sacramento Central YMCA on W Street.
This year’s bike ride takes place on Wednesday, Gonzalez’s 41st birthday, with the goal of raising $10,000. Gonzalez said the trip equals the distance from Sacramento to Reno, or about 135 miles.
The key to pedaling for 12 hours non-stop is to take it “one hour at a time,” Gonzalez said.
“Slow and steady wins the race,” he said.
This will be Gonzalez’s first time riding in the YMCA lobby in two years, as the facility was closed last year due to COVID-19 restrictions. With the YMCA and other gyms closed, Gonzalez almost didn’t go on his annual bike ride on his birthday last year until people asked him about it.
After setting up awnings, balloons and stationary bikes, Gonzalez continued her birthday tradition in a different way. Gonzalez ended up riding his bike outside in his driveway for 12 hours and surpassed his $10,000 goal.
Gonzalez endured the cold and raised $13,000 for the Y-Assist program.
“It was much colder than the morning,” Gonzalez joked. “It was quite cold and if I remember correctly, it was also a windy day.”
This year marks Gonzalez’s seventh consecutive year riding for charity. It starts at 6 a.m. and doesn’t stop until 6 p.m. unless the goal is reached. He remembers a year when he rode 13.5 hours to hit the $10,000 mark.
Along with staying hydrated throughout the 12-hour ride, Gonzalez said the community support kept him pedaling.
When Gonzalez started his birthday bike ride, the goal was $5,000. This number rose to $7,500 and eventually reached $10,000. Gonzalez said he always gets a donation notification on his bike ride and that’s one of the things that keeps him going.
Before last year, Gonzalez said people rode by his side for 30 minutes to an hour, cheered him on or brought him sugar to celebrate his birthday. Gonzalez said people usually bring her donuts while others give her cake or gaterade.
“It’s really the energy of the community that gets me through what is an exhausting day and the fact that I only have to do it once a year is good too,” Gonzalez said. . “
The YMCA has been a part of Gonzalez’s life since he was a teenager and he has been a member of the Community Advisory Board for eight years.
Gonzalez said a “huge gap in health equity” is the reason he started his bike ride. Fundraising for the Y-Assist program is important to him because he wants those less fortunate to have the opportunity to lead active lives.
“When you come to the YMCA and you can’t afford a basketball camp, if you can’t afford swimming lessons and if you can’t afford to go to gymnasium? The YMCA will always find a way to provide these services to you,” Gonzalez said.
Gonzalez’s bike-a-thon will be streamed live throughout the day on the Sacramento Central YMCA’s Facebook account. Gonzalez said the livestream will continue for a few minutes every hour.
Donations can be made at www.isaacbikeride.com.
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