“A few years ago, Memphis was considered one of the worst cities for cyclists in the country. But events like the Ride to Fight On Benefiting West Cancer Center are working to change that perception.
Last year’s inaugural Ride to Fight On raised more than $400,000 for cancer research and attracted more than 1,000 participants.
In addition to improving Memphis’ reputation as a cycling city, Somer hopes the event eventually grows to rival similar rides in other cities. According to the oncologist, a similar ride in Columbus, Ohio, raised more than $10 million, while a ride in Boston raised more than $40 million. Somer knows the Memphis event is just getting started, but he’s confident it will continue to grow.
This year’s ride, which will be held Oct. 3, is expected to attract more than 1,500 cyclists, some from as far away as Germany.
The ride was organized through a partnership with the Memphis Hightailers, the local cycling group. Other sponsors include Highland Capital, Argent Trust, Men Fighting Ovarian Cancer, Axcess Oncology, Caris Life Sciences, Independent Bank, SunTrust Bank, AmGen, Marla & Erich Mounce, Myriad, Bristol Myers Squib, Bayer Health Sciences, Cooper Hotels, Medivation, Jim Keras Subaru, Lokion, Amgen, Astellas Oncology, Genomic, Highland Capital, Barnett Group, FM100, ESPN 92.9, Clear Channel Outdoor, WMCTV, The Commercial Appeal, Memphis Flyer, and Memphis magazine.
“We’re in a growth phase, and it has had a major impact on other cities’ cancer centers,” Somer said.
The event has four levels, including 15-, 45-, 62- and 100-mile routes depending on the experience level of participants.